It's Halloweekend as I write
this - somewhere out there, in the dark, a few straggling spooks
still meander about, pumpkins enjoy an added day or two of ghoulish
glory, a careful ear will discern faint howls and laughter in
the distance, as this unique and wonderful time draws to a close.
But after all, why do we love
Halloween so much? Certainly, it is partly because of the celebration
itself - but is it not also what this holiday augers in? For
Halloween is not just a day in and of itself, but a promise -
for after the ghosts have done their flitting, after the bats
are removed from their respective belfrys, after the last cobwebs
are cleared away, one notices a distinct chill in the air not
present before - the days grow shorter, the fireplace beckons,
and one's thoughts turn to the coming Winter Solstice . . .
Ahh, but before bells are set
to jingling and certain portly red-bedecked gentlemen become
a staple on every street corner, a special day is given its due
- a day without presents, without Pagan Precedents, a day set
aside simply to remember the joy of what we have, the joy of
family, and of course, the joy of all day football.
We've dealt with Thanksgiving
in several previous columns - for reasons of necessary brevity
I'll simply add a couple of noteworthy trivia items, and leave
you all with some very cool websites to check out.
As mentioned previously, the
Pilgrims did indeed dine on Turkey and Pumpkin, as well as corn,
lobster, and home-made wine. The first Thanksgiving occurred
in mid-October, which used to make me worry that maybe the Canadians,
who celebrate the holiday to roughly coincide with Columbus Day,
had outdone us, tradition-accuracy-wise. However, after that
first Thanksgiving, the next year brought no repeat - times were
tough and a lot of Pilgrims starved. However, the following year
proved more bountiful, and so in a sense it was as they approached
their fourth winter in this frightening new world that one could
imagine the Pilgrims finally feeling they had something to be
And it was that year, two years after the "first" Thanksgiving,
that the celebration was held in late November.
Thanksgiving as a yearly event
did not catch on for a long time. The first attempt to honor
the day historically did not occur until the late 1600's in Massachusetts.
Nothing more was done until 1777, when the colonies made a half-hearted
attempt to declare it a national holiday at the very moment they
were attempting to become a nation - and Thanksgiving did not
actually become said holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln
proclaimed it as such.
Funnily enough, the tradition of Thanksgiving existing only by
Presidential Proclamation exists to this very day - Clinton's
1996 "Proclamation" can be found on the internet -
which reminds me . . .
I could go on, but it's time
to leave you with some great Thanksgiving websites and sign off
- you see, all this research has made me awfully hungry . . .
My favorite Thanksgiving
site overall, good history and links, etc.
What would a list of Thanksgiving links be without a Plymouth
Finally, this is the Good
Housekeeping site for great Thanksgiving recipes. Yummmm!
I'll see you in December, when I promise to drum up a plethora
of Christmas Spirits!