A Short History of Thanksgiving

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Thanksgiving, a “uniquely” American observance is, in fact, a variation on an Old English harvest tradition, which makes sense as the colonists came from Britain.

What we know as Thanksgiving—centuries ago—was actually called Lammas. And that means Loaf Mass in Old English.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. On Lammas, farmers brought loaves of bread to mass as a token of thanksgiving.

It’s when breads were made from the season’s first grain crop. They were baked, blessed and broken. And it was celebrated on August first or thereabouts. Over some time, especially the 17th and 18th Century, Americans brought over the tradition of observing Thanksgiving at the end of the harvest, which would be closer to our late November date.

When New Englanders, the first to observe the day, moved west, they brought their traditions with them. However, Thanksgiving did not become a nationally recognized celebration until the mid 19th Century.

Sarah Josepha Hale, Editor of Goudy’s Ladies Book, took it upon herself to make it a widespread celebration; and that was in the 1840s.

At Thanksgiving, remember to give a nod of gratitude for nature’s bounty, and for the people who made this long weekend of food and football possible.

That’s our show for today… from all of us at Passport to Texas…we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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