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Thanksgiving, though perceived today as a general American celebration of abundance, is a distinctly Christian observance with divergent roots in both Catholicism and Calvinist separatism.
Families of different creeds and worldviews will gather Thursday over indulgent feasts across the U.S. to celebrate familial bonds and the provisions for which they can be thankful as Americans. The original intent of Thanksgiving, however, centered not only on celebration of abundance but primarily on worship of the divine giver – the Christian God whom the original settlers of what is now the U.S. believed provided for their survival, ensured the success of their enterprises, and divinely affirmed the righteousness of their causes.
Colonialism - Plight - Calvinist - Separatists - Christian
Here is how Catholic colonialism and the plight of Calvinist separatists made a Christian act of worship an American holiday.
Popular thought places the first Thanksgiving in the year 1621 and conjures images of Squanto and a feast shared by Puritan pilgrims and Native Americans. That notion is correct in a way, as the remembrance of that occasion later gave rise to the official Thanksgiving holiday. The first feasts of thanksgiving celebrated on what is now American soil, however, were technically initiated by Spanish Catholic colonists in the preceding century.
Explorer - Don - Pedro - Menendez - Aviles
Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles first set foot on what is now Florida on Sept. 8, 1565, along with 800 Spanish Catholic settlers. He named the area St. Augustine to honor the saint upon whose feast day, Aug. 28, Menendez first sighted the land. The Timucua tribe greeted Menendez and the Catholic settlers on the shore in peace that day, and so the Spanish held a Mass of Thanksgiving and a subsequent feast with the Timucua – the first Catholic Mass and the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated on American soil, according to The Jacksonville Historical Society.
“It was the first community act of religion...
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