The origin of America’s annual Thanksgiving Day 美国人最初每年的感恩节

在1620年的九月六日,一批清教徒离开英格兰的普里茅斯。他们的目的地是哪里呢?新世界。虽然那时充满着各种无法断定的因素和危险,但是他们期待着公民自由和宗教自由。

经过两个多月的航行,这一百零二位旅行者经历了海浪的暴风骤雨,最终靠着上帝的恩典,人们终于欢呼见到了盼望已久的陆地。

在十一月的后期,他们在马萨诸塞州找到了一个可以靠岸的地方。在十二月十一日,就在他们登岸之前,他们签署了美国政府的第一个文件 - “五月花号公约”,创建了一个先例:由被管理者同意而成立的政府。

经过一次祷告会以后,这些清教徒开始建立一些简易的居住所。但是却没有准备如何来对付新英格兰地区寒冬所带来的饥饿和病痛。在春天来到以前,近一半的人都死了。然而,他们坚持祷告祈求上帝,同时也受到乐意助人的印第安人的协助,他们在第二年的夏天获得了大丰收。

怀着感恩的心,这些清教徒宣布了一个从1621年十二月十三日开始的为期三天的宴席,与他们的印第安朋友一起感谢上帝恩典。虽然这不是第一个美国感恩宴席(最早的感恩礼拜和宴席是在1607年於佛吉尼亚进行的。)这是美国第一个感恩节日。

一直到1789年,在乔治华盛顿所发表的公告之后,根据新的宪法美国庆祝了她第一个感谢上帝的节日。同年,华盛顿总统所在的信义会教会宣布十一月的第一个礼拜四成为专门感恩的日子,“除非政府另外指定一个感恩的日子”。尽管早期有全国的对感恩节的公告,但是真正执行的却只是在州的级别。

现代每年所进行的感恩节可能要归功与撒拉约瑟海尔女士,一位《戈迪女士杂志》的编辑。她坚持不断地向每一届总统提出要设立一个全国性的感恩节的建议达三十年之久。直到1863年,林肯总统决定将十一月的最后一个礼拜四定为全国感恩节日。之后的七十五年,所有的总统都像林肯总统那样每年都在那一天向全国宣告感恩节日。一直到1941年,参议院正式确立了每年十一月的第四个礼拜四为国定假日。

在美国人每年庆祝感恩节的时候,我们希望保持最初那些清教徒和先辈们对上帝的那种感恩,也牢记当初那些清教徒的勇敢创业精神。感恩节不只是一个传统,也是对创建和确立:政府由人民授权的概念、艰苦奋斗的道德概念、人民的自决权的概念、和虔诚的基督信仰的纪念日。



讨论问题:

  1. 你是否听说过美国的感恩节?如果你曾听到过,请述说你所知道的感恩节。

  2. 在今天的课程里,你是否学到了一些新的内容?

  3. 你对今年所发生的,有什么感恩的地方吗?


The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620. Their destination? The New World. Although filled with uncertainty and peril, it offered both civil and religious liberty. For over two months, the 102 passengers braved the harsh elements of a vast storm tossed sea. Finally, with firm purpose and a reliance on Divine Providence, the cry of “Land!” was heard.

Arriving in Massachusetts in late November,the Pilgrims sought a suitable landing place. On December 11, just before disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they signed the “Mayflower Compact”—America’s first document of civil government and the first to introduce self-government.

After a prayer service, the Pilgrims began building hasty shelters. However, unprepared for the starvation and sickness of a harsh New England winter, nearly half died before spring. Yet, persevering in prayer, and assisted by helpful Indians, they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer.

The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three day feast, starting on December 13, 1621, to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. While this was not the first Thanksgiving in America (thanksgiving services were held in Virginia as early as 1607), it was America’s first Thanksgiving Festival.

... In 1789, following a proclamation issued by President George Washington, America
celebrated its first Day of Thanksgiving to God under its new constitution. That same
year, the Protestant Episcopal Church, of which President Washington was a member,
announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” Yet, despite these early national proclamations, official Thanksgiving observances usually occurred only at the State level.

Much of the credit for the adoption of a later annual national Thanksgiving Day may be
attributed to Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. For thirty years, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, contacting President after President until President Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving. Over the next seventy-five years, Presidents followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. Then, in 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday.

... As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving each year, we hope they will retain the original gratefulness to God displayed by the Pilgrims and many other founding fathers, and remember that it is to those early and courageous Pilgrims that they owe not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, the “hard- work” ethic, self-reliant communities, and devout religious faith.

Source: http://christiananswers.net/qwall/walg007.html

Discussion Question:
  1. Have you heard of the American Thanksgiving holiday? If you have heard of it, please describe what you know about it.
  2. What is something new or interesting that you learned from this article?
  3. What are you thankful about this year?
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