Origially celebrated with a grand community
feast wherein the friendly native Americans
were also invited. It was kind of a harvest
feast, the Pilgrims used to have in England.
The recipes entail "corn" (wheat,
by the Pilgrims usage of the word), Indian
corn, barley, pumpkins and peas, "fowl"
(specially "waterfowl"), deer,
fish. And yes, of course the wild turkey.
However, the third year was real bad when
the corns got damaged. Pilgrim Governor
William Bradford ordered a day of fasting
and prayer, and rain happened to follow
soon. To celebrate - November 29th of
that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving.
This date is believed to be the real beginning
of the present Thanksgiving Day.
Though the Thanksgiving Day is presently
celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every
November. This date was set by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 (approved
by Congress in 1941). Earlier it was the
last Thursday in November as was designated
by the former President Abraham Lincoln.
But sometimes the last Thursday would
turn out to be the fifth Thursday of the
month. This falls too close to the Christmas,
leaving the businesses even less than
a month's time to cope up with the two
big festivals. Hence the change.
Throughout history mankind has celebrated
the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving
ceremonies Harvest festivals and thanksgiving
celebrations were held by the ancient
Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese,
and the Egyptians.
Even in prehistoric times, the first
Americans observed many rituals and ceremonies
to express gratitude to a higher power
for life itself. A Seneca Indian ritual,
for example, states, "Our Creator...Shall
continue to dwell above the sky, and this
is where those on the earth will end their
The Algonkian tribes at the time of the
pilgrims held six harvest/thanksgiving
festivals during the year. The first gave
thanks to the Creator for the maple tree
and its syrup. Second was the planting
feast, where the seeds were blessed. The
strawberry festival was next, celebrating
the first fruits of the season. Summer
brought the green corn festival to give
thanks for the ripening corn. In late
fall, the harvest festival gave thanks
for the food they had grown. Midwinter
was the last ceremony of the old year.
Before the establishment of formal religions
many ancient farmers believed that their
crops contained spirits which caused the
crops to grow and die. Many believed that
these spirits would be released when the
crops were harvested and they had to be
destroyed or they would take revenge on
the farmers who harvested them. Some of
the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat
of these spirits.
Paranormal investigators believe that
the energy of groups is important in the
manifestions that occur. They believe
that strong emotoins and remeberence of
those that died trigger the ghost into
appearing. Such as Grandma's Ghost appearing
in the annual family pictures. Thanksgiving
is a day and time of remembering, maybe
this day the dead remember us too and
do return. Many EVP'S have been captured
on videos and recorders. Some Ghost hunters
have reported keeping a recorder on all
day in their homes with amazing resullts.
November haunted ghost filled month begins
with the Dias Del a Morte, The day of
the dead. Whose to say it does not last
the whole month. Originally and traditonally
Harvest festivals are traditionally held
on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon.
This is the full Moon that occurs closest
to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23).
In two years out of three, the Harvest
Moon comes in September, but in some years
it occurs in October.
African peoples have always had festivals
at the times of the harvest. In some parts
of Africa good grain harvests are a cause
for celebration. In other parts of Africa
there is the Festival of Yams. Tribes
of West Africa, for example, celebrate
the yam harvest with days of ceremonies
and offerings of yams to their ancestors
and to the gods. But Voodoo holds a much
different place in the public awareness,
because sensationalized fictional accounts
of Voodoo practices are so common. Even
the word “Voodoo” has become
slang for “scary,” “silly,”
or “nonsensical.” Unfortunately,
what books and films say about Voodoo
is mostly misleading if not downright
false. Zombies, devil worship, and human
sacrifices all make for a scary story,
but they have nothing to do with Voodoo
as practiced by 60 million people worldwide.
early Harvest Festival used to be celebrated
at the beginning of the Harvest season
on 1 August and was called Lammas, meaning
'loaf Mass'. Farmers made loaves of bread
from the fresh wheat crop. These were
given to the local church as the Communion
bread during a special service thanking
God for the harvest.
settlers took the idea of harvest thanksgiving
to North America. The most famous one
is the harvest Thanksgiving held by the
Pilgrim Fathers in 1621.
the festival is held at the end of harvest
which varies in different parts of Britain.
Sometimes neighbouring churches will set
the Harvest Festival on different Sundays
so that people can attend each other's
celebrated the end of the harvest with
a big meal called a harvest supper. Some
churches and villages still have a Harvest
modern British tradition of celebrating
Harvest Festival in churches began in
1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker
invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving
service at his church at Morwenstow in
Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as "We
plough the fields and scatter", "Come
ye thankful people, come" and "All
things bright and beautiful" helped
popularise his idea of harvest festival
and spread the annual custom of decorating
churches with home-grown produce for the
Harvest Festival service.
the early days, there were ceremonies
and rituals at the beginning as well as
at the end of the harvest.
bells could be heard on each day of the
A corn dolly was made from the last sheaf
of corn harvested. The corn dolly often
had a place of honour at the banquet table,
and was kept until the following spring.
In the West of England the ceremony of
Crying The Neck was practiced. Today it
is still re-enacted annually by The Old
The horse, bringing the last cart load,
was decorated with garlands of flowers
and colourful ribbons.
A magnificent Harvest feast was held at
the farmer's house and games played to
celebrate the end of the harvest.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_festival"
The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods
and goddesses. Their goddess of corn (actually
all grains) was Demeter who was honored
at the festival of Thesmosphoria held
On the first day of the festival married
women (possibility connecting childbearing
and the raising of crops) would build
leafy shelters and furnish them with couches
made with plants. On the second day they
fasted. On the third day a feast was held
and offerings to the goddess Demeter were
made - gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit,
and pigs. It was hoped that Demeter's
gratitude would grant them a good harvest.
The Romans also celebrated a harvest
festival called Cerelia, which honored
Ceres their goddess of corn (from which
the word cereal comes). The festival was
held each year on October 4th and offerings
of the first fruits of the harvest and
pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration
included music, parades, games and sports
and a thanksgiving feast.
The ancient Chinese celebrated their
harvest festival, Chung Ch'ui, with the
full moon that fell on the 15th day of
the 8th month. This day was considered
the birthday of the moon and special "moon
cakes", round and yellow like the
moon, would be baked. Each cake was stamped
with the picture of a rabbit - as it was
a rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese
saw on the face of the moon.
The families ate a thanksgiving meal
and feasted on roasted pig, harvested
fruits and the "moon cakes".
It was believed that during the 3 day
festival flowers would fall from the moon
and those who saw them would be rewarded
with good fortune.
According to legend Chung Ch'ui also
gave thanks for another special occasion.
China had been conquered by enemy armies
who took control of the Chinese homes
and food. The Chinese found themselves
homeless and with no food. Many staved.
In order to free themselves they decided
to attack the invaders.
The women baked special moon cakes which
were distributed to every family. In each
cake was a secret message which contained
the time for the attack. When the time
came the invaders were surprised and easily
defeated. Every year moon cakes are eaten
in memory of this victory.
Jewish families also celebrate a harvest
festival called Sukkoth. Taking place
each autumn, Sukkoth has been celebrated
for over 3000 years.
Sukkoth is know by 2 names - Hag ha Succot
- the Feast of the Tabernacles and Hag
ha Asif - the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkoth
begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month
of Tishri, 5 days after Yom Kippur the
most solemn day of the Jewish year.
Sukkoth is named for the huts (succots)
that Moses and the Israelites lived in
as they wandered the desert for 40 years
before they reached the Promised Land.
These huts were made of branches and were
easy to assemble, take apart, and carry
as the Israelites wandered through the
When celebrating Sukkoth, which lasts
for 8 days, the Jewish people build small
huts of branches which recall the tabernacles
of their ancestors. These huts are constructed
as temporary shelters, as the branches
are not driven into the ground and the
roof is covered with foliage which is
spaced to let the light in. Inside the
huts are hung fruits and vegetables, including
apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates.
On the first 2 nights of Sukkoth the families
eat their meals in the huts under the
The ancient Egyptians celebrated their
harvest festival in honor of Min, their
god of vegetation and fertility. The festival
was held in the springtime, the Egyptian's
The festival of Min featured a parade
in which the Pharaoh took part. After
the parade a great feast was held. Music,
dancing, and sports were also part of
When the Egyptian farmers harvested their
corn, they wept and pretended to be grief-stricken.
This was to deceive the spirit which they
believed lived in the corn. They feared
the spirit would become angry when the
farmers cut down the corn where it lived.
The United States
The story of Thanksgiving is basically
the story of the Pilgrims and their thankful
community feast at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
In 1621, after a hard and devastating
first year in the New World the Pilgrim's
fall harvest was very successful and plentiful.
There was corn, fruits, vegetables, along
with fish which was packed in salt, and
meat that was smoke cured over fires.
They found they had enough food to put
away for the winter.
The Pilgrims had beaten the odds. They
built homes in the wilderness, they raised
enough crops to keep them alive during
the long coming winter, and they were
at peace with their Indian neighbors.
Their Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed
a day of thanksgiving that was to be shared
by all the colonists and the neighboring
Native American Indians.
The custom of an annually celebrated
thanksgiving, held after the harvest,
continued through the years. During the
American Revolution (late 1770's) a day
of national thanksgiving was suggested
by the Continental Congress.
In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving
Day as an annual custom. By the middle
of the 19th century many other states
also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In
1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed
a national day of thanksgiving. Since
then each president has issued a Thanksgiving
Day proclamation, usually designating
the fourth Thursday of each November as
The Pilgrims, who set sail from Plymouth,
England on a ship called the Mayflower
on September 6, 1620, were fortune hunters,
bound for the resourceful 'New World'.
The Mayflower was a small ship crowded
with men, women and children, besides
the sailors on board. Aboard were passengers
comprising the 'separatists', who called
themselves the "Saints", and
others, whom the separatists called the
Ill-equipped to face the winter on this
estranged place they were ravaged thoroughly.
Somehow they were saved by a group of
local Native Americans who befriended
them and helped them with food. Soon the
natives taught the settlers the technique
to cultivate corns and grow native vegetables,
and store them for hard days. By the next
winter they had raised enough crops to
keep them alive. The winter came and passed
by without much harm. The settlers knew
they had beaten the odds and it was time
After land was sighted in November following
66 days of a lethal voyage, a meeting
was held and an agreement of truce was
worked out. It was called the Mayflower
Compact. The agreement guaranteed equality
among the members of the two groups. They
merged together to be recognized as the
"Pilgrims." They elected John
Carver as their first governor.
The first Thanksgiving feast was held
in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag
Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit,
was also invited there.
The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted
President George Washington issued the
first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation
in the year 1789 and again in 1795.
Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving
Proclamation' on third October 1863 and
officially set aside the last Thursday
of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
Whereas earlier the presidents used to
make an annual proclamation to specify
the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored
Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving
Day in the year 1939. He did so to make
the Christmas shopping season longer and
thus stimulate the economy of the state.
Congress passed an official proclamation
in 1941 and declared that now onwards
Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal
holiday on the fourth Thursday of November
New Orleans Voodoo Thanksgiving
The New Orleans Voodoo Rituals on Thanksgiving
day by many secret societies are focused
to honor the sprits trapped on the Earth,
The Loa's (LWA), the Harvest, and the
blessings of the waters.
The New Orleans Voodoo tribal community
gathering usually includes, rituals, feasting,
honoring the dead, and an opportunity
to honor the sacred ever burning temple
fire with drumming and dancing. Dating
back to the time of Marie Laveau, the
ritual is not unlike the All Saints Day
visit from the Ghede's.
The term “Voodoo” is an unfortunate
Americanization of a word that originally
was more like “vodu”; alternate
spellings, each of which is championed
by one group or another, include Vodun,
Vodoun, Voudou, Vaudoun, Vodou, Voudoun,
and probably quite a few more. The religion
as practiced in Haiti, where it has the
largest number of adherents, is usually
spelled “Vodou” (pronounced
“vo-DOO”). Voodoo (under one
name or another) is practiced in several
Caribbean countries and is the official
religion of Benin in western Africa, but
also has a large following in the United
States. New Orleans seems to have earned
a reputation as the unofficial Voodoo
capital of America.
In New Orleans they believe that dead
Mothers and Fathers and lost childrens
ghost visit ones home this day. That they
as ghost haunt the city and the cemeteries
especially seeing who has come to pay
them tribute from their family line.
Some New Orleansians have been known
to have their Thanksgiving day festivities
at a cemetery. Often many leave a freshily
baked turkey at the foot of Marie Laveaus
tomb or a Deep fired Turkey at a loved
ones grave with all the fixings... to
include and feed the dead. Often found
the next day by Cemetery caretakers are
deep-fried turkey, cornbread dressing,
mashed potatoes, gravy, maquechou, and
pecan pie, sweet potatoes and yams by
the several dozens.
Voodoosnats this day have a special dress
they only wear for the Thanksgiving day
ceremonies that include black clothes
and red, yellow and purple feathers and
beads. This day among the very secret
Voodoo Societies is often called Voodoo
Mardi Gras. Rituals play a large part
in the practice of Thanksgiving Day Voodoo;
most are presided over by a priest or
priestess in a local temple. Drumming,
singing, and dancing are almost invariably
part of Voodoo rituals, and in the versions
of Voodoo practiced in some areas, animal
sacrifices do occur regularly to appease
the Lwa. But the main focus of Voodoo
rituals is on positive desires such as
healing, prosperity, and protection. As
in any religion, most practitioners seek
a harmonious relationship with other people
as well as with the forces of the unseen
world. But as is also true of other religions,
there are smaller, more extreme groups
of believers who practice a darker and
more violent version of Voodoo.
Also carved figures of the Ghede, Loa,
Known as Baron Ghede are made by artisans
only on this day. There is always the
ceremonial beating of drums heard through
out the city.
At dawn New Orleans Voodoosants perform
Aksyon degras - thanksgiving; ritual prayers
borrowed from Catholic litanies that open
a Vodou service. They always induce vomiting
with a swallowing voodoo feather doll
or blessed stick doll before the days
ritual starts. This is to purge the body
of impurities, both a literal physical
purging and a symbolic spiritual purging.
This ceremonial purging and other rites
are a symbolic claimed changing before
A served heavily buttered then heavily
sugared French bread (a New Orleans Voodoo
communion rite, only this does not appear
in any other voodoo rituals in America.),
first to the Loa's, then to the Voodoosants
present. Then a Trempe - raw corn whiskey
or rum steeped with aromatic and/or medicinal
herb. Takeing of the sacred buttered and
sugared French bread and Corn Whiskey
or Rum is a powerful protection blessing
rite. The more interesting similarities
between this ritual and the Christian
practice of the Holy Eucharist and wine
is more then just obvious and the mixing
of the two cultures is never more evident.
have reported seeing ghosts in New York
City for hundreds of years.
locations in New York City are proported
to be haunted -- while you may not see a
ghost in any of New York City's haunted
spots, some of the stories that explain
the haunting are just as scary. New York
City landmarks and buildings are reportedly
very haunted. And Many people have reported
seeing ghost as they wait for the parade
as well as photogrphing them.