The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777. A somber event, it specifically recommended “that servile labor and such recreations (although at other times innocent) may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment [and should] be omitted on so solemn an occasion.”
Presidents Washington, Adams and Monroe proclaimed national Thanksgivings, but the custom fell out of use by 1815, after which the celebration of the holiday was limited to individual state observances. By the 1850s, almost every state and territory celebrated Thanksgiving.
Many people felt that this family holiday should be a national celebration, especially Sarah Josepha Hale, the influential editor of the popular women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book. In 1827, she began a campaign to reinstate the holiday after the model of the first Presidents. She publicly petitioned several Presidents to make it an annual event. Sarah Josepha Hale’s efforts finally succeeded in 1863, when she was able to convince President Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving might serve to unite a war-torn country. The President declared two national Thanksgivings that year, one for August 6 celebrating the victory at Gettysburg and a second for the last Thursday in November.
Neither Lincoln nor his successors, however, made the holiday a fixed annual event. A President still had to proclaim Thanksgiving each year, and the last Thursday in November became the customary date. In a controversial move, Franklin Delano Roosevelt lengthened the Christmas shopping season by declaring Thanksgiving for the next-to-the-last Thursday in November. Two years later, in 1941, Congress responded by permanently establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month. (www.plimoth.org)
By Fr. Edward A. Sadvary
Celebrate the Day of the City in Moscow, Sept.4,2011!
Russian Pancake Week (Maslenitsa)
Maslenitsa (Russian Pancake Week) is a holiday is celebrated the 7th week before Russian Easter. This year 2011, Maslenitsa celebrations are taking place Feb. 28th through March 6. The symbol of Maslenitsa is pancakes - round, golden and warm, they represent the sun and the welcoming of spring. People enjoy the time with carnivals, food (lots of blini/Russian pancakes), fist fights, bear shows, sleigh-riding, sledding, snowball battles, visiting and re-connecting with your family and friends.
The first day of March is a traditional holiday in
Martenitsas are small ornaments of red and white woven threads and they symbolize the hope for good health. They are carried on until the first storks come. When you see a stork, you can take your martenica off and put it on a blossomed tree. Martenitsas are usually pinned on the clothes, sometimes worn around wrists, or neck with Pijo and Penda (2 small dolls). They are always given as a gift. People give them to love ones and friends.