From our friends and families to yours, the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!
History of the Thankgiving Holiday
In the United States, according to cultural tradition, the Thanksgiving holiday is traced to a 1621 feast by the Pilgrim settlers and the Wampanoag tribe held to celebrate a good harvest and the alliance of their communities at Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival became commonplace among the Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620′s and 1630′s. Proclamations of Thanksgiving were made by both civil and religious leaders in New England into the Eighteenth Century.
There were also earlier celebrations of Thanksgiving and feasts held by Europeans including that of Spanish explorers in present-day San Elizario, Texas near El Paso in 1598.
As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving in America marking November 26, 1789, as a national day of thanksgiving. In 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, by proclamation, established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be held on the last Thursday in November, as a day set aside for national prayer for “peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
At the time of another national crisis, the Great Depression, owing to the hardship and financial challenges faced by Americans in holding two holidays in less than a month, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, agreed to calls by business leaders who feared they would lose the much-needed revenue an extra week of shopping would afford them if the holiday fell on a Thursday only three weeks from the Christmas holiday. Roosevelt moved the permanent date of the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States one week earlier to the fourth week in November. President Roosevelt, however, chose to keep the Thanksgiving holiday on a Thursday as it had been held for nearly three-quarters of a century since Lincoln’s proclamation.