Rabbi Larry Karol with Temple Beth-El in Las Cruces, NM, said that a similar message can be found in both holidays. "For Thanksgiving, part of what we're giving thanks for is freedom," Karol said. "Not only freedom in general but freedom to worship the way we wish."
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth, Mass. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving". The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.
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The story of Hanukkah teaches there was just enough oil to light the menorah -- a candelabrum -- for one day, but it burned for eight. That is why celebrants light nine candles: one for each day of Hanukkah with a ninth in the middle known as the shammash, which is lighted the first night and then used to light the other candles each day. It's a Festival of Lights with origins going back to the second century B.C.
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There is considerable debate this year because a lot of stores are opening on Thanksgiving for an early start to Black Friday. Personally, I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving nor on Black Friday. The attitude of shoppers rushing in for the "best" deals is less than festive. I believe Christmas shopping should be done with a smile and a joy-filled heart. We are, after all, gifting to make others happy so I believe we should shop with that in mind. As far as people having to work on the holiday, which several people seem to be pointing out; I was a nurse for 18 years. I worked a LOT of holidays, not just Thanksgiving. Firemen, policemen, doctors, convenience store clerks, 911 operators and military servicemen are just a few of those that willingly work holidays to keep us safe and to maintain a convenience for others. In a perfect world no one would be sick or injured or in need of a gallon of milk, only then will everyone be able to enjoy having the holidays off. That's my 2 cents worth but like the Rabbi stated, we celebrate freedom as well as abundance on Thanksgiving. So please, feel free to eat then waddle through the stores getting the "best" deals around. =D
I plan on staying home with my family, maybe start a game of old-style D&D and sip something hot and chocolaty. The only crowd I plan on braving this year is the one in front of my husbands' pumpkin pie!
Stay warm. Stay safe and enjoy the festivities.
Peace and blessings,
(Visit THIS article and THIS wiki for more in-depth information.)