Festivals IloveIndia
Read about thanksgiving proclamations, first thanksgiving proclamation and national thanksgiving proclamations.

Thanksgiving Proclamations

The first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 20, 1676 to express thanks to the Almighty for their good fortune, secure establishment of the colonists in America and to celebrate their recent victory over 'heathen natives'. Unanimously, June 29 was declared as a day of thanksgiving and of course Indians were not included in it. In October 1777, all the 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration for the first time to commemorate the victory over the British at Saratoga. The event was not repeated again. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving but all the people did not find it a good move seeing the discord among the colonies and the hardships of a few Pilgrims.

President Thomas Jefferson found celebrating Thanksgiving ridiculous, so it was in 1863, when President Lincoln appointed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Ever since then, all the presidents have made Thanksgiving Proclamations. However, the dates of Thanksgiving were changed a couple of times. Franklin Roosevelt shifted it to one week to the next-to-last Thursday, so that people can have a longer Christmas shopping season but the opposition of the public forced the government to move back Thanksgiving to its original day two years later. It was only as recently as 1941, when Congress finally sanctioned Thanksgiving as a legal holiday and fixed the fourth Thursday in November to be celebrated as Thanksgiving Day.

The Continental Congress made the first ever National Thanksgiving Proclamation in the year 1777 and continued the tradition for the next seven years or up to 1784. For the next three years or from 1785 to 1788, there were no national Thanksgiving Proclamations until George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789. Again, there was a long break in Thanksgiving Proclamations from 1816 to 1861 until Abraham Lincoln issued two Thanksgiving Proclamations in the spring of 1862 and the spring of 1863 to thank the God for victories in battles. In the autumn of 1863, Lincoln issued yet another Thanksgiving Proclamation that recounted general blessings of the year and it was this proclamation that actually picked up the broken thread of annual Thanksgiving proclamations and is regarded as the true beginning of the national Thanksgiving holiday.

1676 Thanksgiving Proclamation
"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy