Far from being a crystalized set observance, Thanksgiving in America has been a holiday that has changed considerably from how it was initially celebrated.
There have been obvious minor changes: sports events on TV rather than game hunting, turkey as the main course rather than venison, and the manifestation of the major parade sponsored by Macy’s.
Yet, from 1621 until 2012, the notion of Thanksgiving also underwent fundamental changes in definition, with the modern American holiday being far removed from its 17th century ancestor. Linford D. Fisher, assistant professor at the Department of History of Brown University, told The Christian Post that the modern Thanksgiving is more a product of the 1800s than the 1600s.
“One piece of this progression is when Sarah Hale of Newport, R.I. – a writer, activist, and mother –begins to campaign for a national holiday that incorporates feasting and giving thanks,” said Fisher.
“This was also a time when New Englanders were recovering their Puritan roots (Plymouth Rock was dedicated in 1824, for example), so this recovery of Thanksgiving as an older tradition ties in with that as well.”
For the 17th century, Fisher told CP that the Thanksgiving event was actually a combination of two occasions, one being the harvest festival and the other a ritual day of thanks, which was “a common feature of early modern European Christian religious life.”
Read more via The Evolution of Thanksgiving at the Christian Post