24 nov. 2011

Thanksgiving

En 1620 os peregrinos do Mayflower chegaron a Massachusetts, e decidiron comezar a construír o que chegaría a ser Plymouth. Porén, as duras condicións climatolóxicas fixeron que os traballos levasen moito máis do agardado, un tempo durante o cal os peregrinos permaneceron hacinados a bordo do Mayflower. As enfermidades non tardaron en chegar, e moitos morreron de diversas enfermidades causadas pola insalubridade, a permanente humidade e a mala alimentación, entre elas o escorbuto.

En febreiro desembarcaron definitivamente, e comezaron a traballar a terra e a tratar cos nativos, cos que firmarían un tratado en marzo.

Ao pasar o verán, e antes de comezar o outono, os peregrinos conseguiron a súa primeira colleita proveitosa, e decidiron celebrar un banquete para conmemoralo, no que nun primeiro non sería máis que unha festa de conmemoración da colleita, á que só chegaron vivos 53 dos 102 peregrinos do Mayflower.

En palabras de William Bradford, en Of Plymouth Plantation:
Thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity. They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.


Despois deste Thanksgiving, tiveron lugar, de forma discontinua, outros días de Acción de Grazas despois de eventos favorables, e días de xaxún despois de eventos desfavorables. Pouco a pouco, ao longo de mediados do século XVII, foise desenvolvendo un Thanksgiving anual, que, porén, non tiña unha data fixa, nin sempre a mesma en todas as colonias, ou, máis adíante, estados.

E é que non foi até 1863 que se tomou o cuarto xoves de novembro como día de Thanksgiving a nivel Federal, convertíndose na tradición que hoxe en día coñecemos a este lado do Atlántico como Día de Acción de Gracias e que se conmemora hoxe nos Estados Unidos de América.

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