In honor of celebrating Thanksgiving this week in the United States, we dedicate this issue to gratitude.
The history of Thanksgiving
American Thanksgiving is a tradition dating back to 1621, the year after 102 passengers on a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England. Only half survived that first year until November 1621, when Governor William Bradford organized a feast in honor of a successful corn harvest. Included were the Native American allies who showed the colonists how to cultivate corn and other important survival teachings.
It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that Thanksgiving was designated an official holiday by President Abraham Lincoln to honor the widows, orphans and others who suffered because of the Civil War and to “heal the wounds” of the nation. Initially assigned to the last Thursday of November, it was moved up a week in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Shopping the day after Thanksgiving has become as traditional as eating turkey and pumpkin pie.
John Kralik was an attorney who had hit a personal and professional rock-bottom when he decided to undertake a project of gratitude–writing a thank you note every day for one year. The following two articles convey his story, and the NPR profile includes his ten tips for writing thank you notes.
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