Braiding Corn. 1922. Plimouth Plantation, Massachusetts. Artstor. Web. 23 Nov. 2010.
As President Dockery said in his e-mail today Thanksgiving is an American Holiday and not primarily a Christian holiday. Still, Thanksgiving has deep Judeo-Christian roots being actually rooted in the feast of tabernacles in Hebrew culture. Robert Haven Schauffler highlights thanksgivings hebrew heritage and points out that Moses commands in Deuteronomy,
"You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns...because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful." (ESV Deut. 16:14-15)
As Christians it is important that we always give thanks and so on this holiday we celebrate the freedoms and blessings that we do have in our lives and thank God for those things. A year ago I was in London and I celebrated Thanksgiving with a special service at St. Paul's Cathedral. I have never been a particularly patriotic person, having lived abroad and traveled extensively, I have always identified myself more as a Christian than an American but standing there in the cathedral singing as the lyrics to America beautiful soared to the upper reaches of the domed roof I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be an American and eager to return to purple mountains majesties and amber waves of grain. A year later, here I am, living in the heart of this great land and working as a librarian. Sure London and Paris or New York seem glamorous but I have been called to serve God by being a librarian at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. I have also been called to love and serve those around me as we all are here at Emma Waters Summar Library. There is nothing more American than living in the mid south and not a better time to celebrate where I live and work than Thanksgiving. Today I will be traveling home to see my parents and I hope everyone who is traveling has a safe journey and a happy time with their family. I thought for this post I would feature some of the books that we have in our collection about that help us to better understand this American holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn
Juvenile Collection 394.26 B282t 1975
"In her warm, lively style, Edna Barth brings to life the Pilgrim fathers, mothers and children, dressed in bright colors, not in the drab costumes traditions has mistakenly given them. We also meet their Indian neighbors, friendly and unfriendly. And we learn how various symbols came to represent Thanksgiving––not just the turkey, but pumpkins, cornstalks, ears of multicolored Indian corn, the fruits of the harvest spilling out of an animal horn, and the Mayflower under full sail." (From the book jacket)
This well written children's book also includes a very helpful list of sources.
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
F68 .P44 2006
Speaking of the Mayflower, this popular history begins with the crowded ship coming across the Atlantic and describes the barren New England where the pilgrims landed and then emphasizes the impact of King Phillip's War that ensued. In this well written history, Nathaneil Philbrick, describes the early struggle between the English and the Native American groups and how that shaped American history. This is not necessarily a feel good story of the Indians and Pilgrims eating corn together but it does seem to be an interesting read.
Thanksgiving, its Origin, Celebration and Significance as related in Prose and Verse.
PN4305 .T5 S35
This book is a reprint of a book that was originally published in 1907. It is available full text and downloadable from Google Books. The actual volume that we have in our library is hard bound and was once withdrawn from Beaver College (Now Arcadia University) in Pennsylvania. This book draws fascinating comparison between Thanksgiving in its present form and the Feast of the Tabernacle in Hebrew culture. It also includes historical essays, short stories and poetry all related to Thanksgiving in America. The poems are great and a fun think to read out loud before your Thanksgiving Day feast.
Have a happy Thanksgiving and be safe!