By Linda Kral
Roswell Daily Record
ROSWELL — I was watching a program the other day and one of the hosts was reporting “big pop news” that it is becoming an option these days for families to celebrate Thanksgiving on a day other than the “traditional” fourth Thursday in November.
Apparently in our current world, not only is the climate changing, but so are traditions. I hate to break it to that television host, but Thanksgiving is not the only holiday that has changed over the centuries and our current holidays will most likely continue to evolve and change to fit the needs of a constantly changing world.
Back in the early 1500s, there were 95 church holidays in addition to the 52 Sundays when you better be sitting upright and alert in a pew. The Puritans wiped the calendar clean and they decided to have Days of Fasting in troubled times and Days of Thanksgiving in times of blessing. Celebrating the harvest became the most common reason for the thanksgiving season, but the date moved around based on the success of the collected bounty.
In schools and in our minds, the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth sometime between 1619 and 1621. If you read the history, so much is written about the dates, names of the various celebrations, and what they meant to the people of the day, that it is hardly worth the TV host mentioning that families today are choosing different days and different ways to celebrate. That isn’t news. That’s history.
My favorite school memories always included dressing up in crepe paper collars and hats to act out the “first Thanksgiving” before school let out for a four- day weekend of endless food and family. Our upcoming Thanksgiving has only been “officially” on the fourth Thursday of November since 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution declaring it so. I am betting people continued to do what they always did. Traditions are hard to change.
The more I read a little history on the most common of our annual holidays, the more apparent it became that some holidays have very little basis, and appear to be Hallmark created. Other holidays were given arbitrary dates with no actual relation to the event being celebrated. We didn’t always have our current calendar where the 12 months of the year fit so nicely into Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl” song; “I love, I love, I love my calendar girl, each and every day of the year!” So many of our current holidays have changed and evolved.
If you look up “Holidays and Observances for 2018,” it may surprise you as it did me to see half or more of every month filled with popular and obscure observances. I don’t know why some holidays are a big deal while others we never hear about, but if a holiday calls for a day off of work, you know it is going to be a big deal and everyone is waiting for it. I wonder how one goes about adding an observance to a calendar because I wish to add a holiday. “Seniors over 70 Day” will certainly catch on and possibly become second to Christmas as far as being on the “Top 10 Annual Holidays” list. It will include all of the things we love the most about our holidays: A paid day off for seniors even if you don’t work. Flowers, cards, gifts, colored lights, fireworks and chocolates. People will honor us and be patient when we are driving 25 in a 45 mph zone with a blinker on or writing a check after our groceries have been rung up.
Young people will beg to sit at our feet and listen to what it was like walking to school in the snow. Stores will be required to play oldies music and cellphones will be banned for the day. Baggers will not only bag our groceries, but carry them to the car, drive us home, put them away and fix dinner. Prescriptions will be free that day and no waiting for a doctor. How do I get this started? I have just 34 days to qualify for the “over 70 holiday.”
I’d better get working! Well, I can dream about the future, but I only get a few more words in this column to encourage everyone to have a glorious Thanksgiving regardless of the day and way you choose to celebrate. Just remember to give thanks and to be grateful for the harvests in your life. Count your blessings and be a blessing. Happy Thanksgiving.
Linda Kral was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She and her husband moved to Roswell in July 2005. She is happily retired and can be reached at LKral@cableone.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.
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