The True Meaning of Thanksgiving
This Thursday we will celebrate the anniversary of the harvest enjoyed by settlers in 1621 at the Plymouth colony for reaping their most bountiful harvest. However, over many years, the true meaning of this wonderful holiday has been forgotten and its time rediscover what Thanksgiving is all about.
Ayn Rand said it best that Thankgiving is a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers’ holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.
The Plymouth Massachusetts Colony was founded by pilgrims in December 1620 who left England to escape religious persecution armed with a vision to make a New Jerusalem in the New World. At first the colony was organized according to the colonist’s religious beliefs. Land and farming was owned and worked on a communal basis along with the care and raising of children. The colonists, who were deeply religious, believed that by following their religious teachings (based mainly on the Bible) would ensure prosperity and brotherly love.
They could not have been more wrong. As a result of following their policies colony residents experienced food shortages, famine, extreme poverty, and even death. Faced with the colony’s demise, Plymouth leaders had a change of heart. They later divided the property and fields of the colony in which a piece of property was given to each of the colonists.
Whatever products colonists did not consume that they raised on their farms the families had the right to trade their goods with others. As a result, the colony quickly turned around. Rather than face starvation and death, Plymouth colonists enjoyed an abundance of the things they farmed. So much so that in November 1623, colonists set aside a day of Thanksgiving by holding a feast and invited nearby Indians to join them in the festivities. The two main dishes served were turkey and corn.
The story of the Plymouth colonists is an inspiration for everyone. America has generated an abundance of goods and services that helped do away with many of the problems associated with destitution. America is the first society to be based mainly on the idea of voluntary exchange and man being free to use his mind to the best of his abilities. As a result of this, the productive energies of America’s citizens, like you, were put to good use by making this country the wealthiest, most prosperous nation in history.
As the above example of the Plymouth Colony points out, abundance and prosperity are what Thanksgiving is established to commemorate and what our country is all about. So when you sit down at the dinner table with family and friends, ignore the claims by some that you should feel guilty for or do not deserve the abundance of your efforts.
Selfishly consume your dinner and all of the trimmings you have. The meal you will consume should be a source of great pride that you have earned. The company you are with and the abundance you enjoy is the result of the fruits of your labor and thought.