As families prepare to chow down on turkey, watch football and prepare for Black Friday shopping madness, they may forget to reflect on the true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Way before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the NFL were established, the day became an official holiday thanks to President Abraham Lincoln. In an 1863 proclamation, Lincoln stated that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday in November. Later, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November, to give people more time to squeeze in their holiday shopping.
However, this very tradition, started in the 1950s, of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, now known as Black Friday, is where some see Thanksgiving losing its meaning.
“On a day about being thankful for what we have, many people will be rushing out to buy more stuff," Mark Sandlin, a Minister & co-founder of The Christian Left, wrote in a blog post for the Huffington Post. “Rather than enjoying time spent with family or friends, they will rush out to battle strangers in an effort to buy more distractions. There is a war on Thanksgiving and the average American is slowly losing it, and so many of us don't even see that it's happening.”
Continue Reading Below
To put the holiday into back into historical perspective, below are some of the best quotes that epitomize the original meaning of Thanksgiving:
Spiritual Thanksgiving Quotes:
“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” -- Oprah Winfrey
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” -- Dalai Lama
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” --Cicero
“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” -- William Blake
"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." – Aesop
“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” -- Seneca
"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all." -- William Faulkner
Presidential Thanksgiving Quotes:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.” -- Abraham Lincoln
"Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds." - Theodore Roosevelt
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -- John F. Kennedy
“Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day.” -- Ronald Reagan
Funny Thanksgiving Quotes:
"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land." – Jon Stewart
"I love Thanksgiving turkey... it's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger
“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.” -- Johnny Carson
"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" -- Erma Bombeck