Thank you or thank you, Is celebrated this Thursday, which is the finest American family holiday; Beyond the lavish dinner hosted by a large roast turkey, a celebration that everyone recognizes has evolved over the centuries, mixing tradition, politics, myth and sport.
The tradition of this festival was born on the last Thursday of November, as a way of thanking God for the harvest, in the homes of immigrants in the New England region, which includes many states in the Northeast. United States.
But over the years, myth has been linked to the fact that the legendary “Mayflower” crossed the sea in 1620 and landed in what is now Massachusetts, the first group of so-called “immigrants” to arrive in North America. “.
However, the expansion of this myth that connects the celebration with the first settlers to other parts of the country did not begin until the 1940s, and the tradition did not end up taking shape until the end of that century and the early 20th. Tracy McKenzie, a professor at the University of Wheaton (Illinois), tells Efe, author of the book “The First Thanksgiving”.
The origin of the Thanksgiving myth
One year after landing, the pilgrims celebrated the culmination of their first harvest in July 1621 with a communal open-air feast attended by nearly a hundred American Indians, with only a single note written by one of the settlers. Edward Winslow.
But that celebration is traditionally considered first. “Thanksgiving“It’s not a family event, nor a Thanksgiving event, nor does she eat turkey, nor is it even with a great football league game.
In fact, according to McKenzie, the event was practically forgotten for two hundred years, and in 1841 a diary of “Mayflower” pilgrims was published, in which the reference to the encounter between immigrants and natives was restored.
But in the 1840s Thanksgiving It is not celebrated in the south or in the west of the country. “A Wheaton University professor says that two decades before the Civil War (1861-1865), in an increasingly divided country, South Americans were “not too keen on celebrating a tradition associated with the North.”
The end of the war against the Indians and the fear of new immigrants
According to McKenzie, “1900s and the first half of the twentieth century were the time when Americans really began to associate pilgrims with gratitude.”
According to the expert, the two main reasons are that by then the war against the tribes is practically over and the existence of Indians in mythology can be restored and remembered in a “sensible” way.
On the other hand, the arrival of large waves of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries also contributed to the growth and expansion of the tradition.
“There was considerable concern and concern among Native Americans as to whether this new wave of migration was having an adverse effect on the United States.” As a result, a vast literature began to develop around “Mayflower” pilgrims, who described them as “model immigrants, deeply religious people who worked hard and insisted on a family.”
A vision will eventually become universal and printed in school textbooks, where travelers are described as “America’s first immigrants and a kind of example, a model that new immigrants want.”
The creation of the myth and its progressive transformation into a symbol of national unity gradually lost its original religious meaning, allowing it to be “accessible to all.”
Turkey and popular stocks
From Sarah Joseph Hale, the author and author who persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving Day a National Day in 1863, to books such as the “Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens in 1843, they contributed to the development of both tradition and belief. , How to standardize a bountiful menu of celebrations that do not include bread filling, blueberry sauce, pumpkin and, above all, turkey.
But McKenzie highlights the American writer Jane Goodwin Austin, whose novel “The Republic of the Pilgrims” (1888) became a bestseller of its time and helped spread the myth of the first immigrants and helped celebrate the first day of Thanksgiving.
“I would say, more than anyone else, that the fiction written by this woman 270 years later really created most of the popular stereotypes of the 1621 celebration,” the professor concludes.