PUTTING 'THANKS' IN THANKSGIVING: Traditions turn families to the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day

COLUMBIA CITY — Like iconic images captured by Norman Rockwell, families will gather today around dinner tables across the nation.Turkey day traditions that span generations include holiday services, school programs as well as homemade food dishes and desserts. In the United States, the first Thanksgiving wasn’t held around any elaborate dining room furniture or served on bone china. In 1621, a celebration at Plymouth, now in present-day Massachusetts, was held to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The new settlers to Plymouth held religious thanksgiving services which began a long tradition of Thanksgiving celebrations which were centered around fasting. This is a stark difference when compared to the abundance of food now consumed on Thanksgiving.Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. According to U.S. history websites, various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for blessings and favorable seasons.As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking Nov. 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”Whitley County joined in on the religious overtones of the Thanksgiving season with a community service Tuesday at the Church of the Nazarene.Denominations of all kinds came together under one roof to sing songs and offer prayers of thanks to God. The event was coordinated by Craig Myers, president of the Whitley County Ministerial Association. For a more in depth look at this story, see the Nov. 22 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.