ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING
"Remember that the name Puritans was also another name for the Waldenses. Kohn has a very interesting quote about the Puritans.
'We meet similar sects around 1545 among the Quakers in England. Several leaders and preachers of the Puritans, imbued with the Old Testament spirit, likewise raised the issue of reinstating the day of rest from Sunday to Saturday, and even demanded that the law of the Old Testament be recognized as the law of the State'." 1588-1623 Samuel Kohn (a Jewish Rabbi): Die Sabbatharier in Siebenburgen Ihr Geshichte, Literalur, und Dogmatik Budapest, Verlag von Singer & Wolfer, 1894; Lipzig, Verlag von Franz Wager, P.55 Translated by Gerhard 0. Marx
"These Puritans were also known as the 'Pilgrim Fathers', and brought the Sabbath observance to America. This is confirmed by Dugger: In the month of December, 1934, Hugh Sprague, editor of the St. Joseph Gazette Missouri), wrote an editorial on this very matter. 'Strange as it may seem in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of the Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on Sabbath (what the world calls Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration. Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today.' In a private conversation between Elder A. N. Dugger and Elder Hugh Sprague, after this editorial appeared, the latter stated that the Pilgrims were his direct ancestors, and that he very well knew their religious beliefs and practices. And in addition, he stated that all his grandparents and great grandparents knew that the Pilgrims of the Mayflower days were strict Sabbath keepers on the seventh day of the week instead of Sunday." (The Bible Study Papers at www.logon.org)
The Messianic Jews have the following to say about the Feast of Tabernacles. "Many Americans, upon seeing a decorated sukkah (and the holiday in generally) reminds them of Thanksgiving. The American Pilgrims, who originated the Thanksgiving holiday, were deeply religious people. As they were ting to find a way to express their thanks for their survival and for the harvest, it is quite possible that they looked to the Bible (see Leviticus 23:39) for an appropriate way of celebrating and based their holiday in part on the Feast of Tabernacles." (www.biblicalholidays.com)
"The 102 Pilgrims who sailed on board the Mayflower, fleeing religious oppression, were well acquainted with the thanksgiving day celebrations. The custom was ancient and universal. The Greeks had honored Demeter, the goddess of agriculture; the Roman~ had paid tribute to Ceres, the goddess of corn; while the Hebrews had offered thanks for abundant harvests with the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles. These customs had never really died out in the Western world." (Panati'S Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things p.64) Some of the Puritans observed the Seventh-day Sabbath and God's Holy
Days while rejecting pagan and Catholic holidays. Probably the first Thanksgiving was their celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.
This information was taken from the book God's Holidays p.123, 129 by Melody and Richard Drake
James Adair shared how the Choctaw and Florida Indians had a festival similar to the Feast of Tabernacles of the Hebrews.
"While their sanctified new fruits are dressed, a religious attendant is ordered to call six of their old beloved women to come to the temple, and dance the beloved dance with joyful hearts,... each carrying in her hand a bundle of small branches of various green trees." The old priests likewise had green boughs in one hand, "which they pulled from their holy arbour (shelter), and carefully place there encircling it with several rounds." Now I've got to tell the rest of this unique ceremony connected with it.
"The eldest of the priests leads the sacred dance .... . round the supposed holy fire, by invoking YAH, after their usual manner, on a bass key, and with a short accent; then he sings YO YO, which is repeated by the rest of the religious procession; and he continues his sacred invocations and praises, repeating the divine word, or notes, till they return to the same point of the circular course, where they began: then HE HE in like manner, and WAH WAH. While dancing they never fail to repeat those notes; and frequently the holy train strike up Halelu, Halelu; then Haleluiah, Halelu-Yah, and ALELUIAH and ALELU-YAH... with great earnestness and fervor, till they circle the altar... Then the awful drums join the sacred choir, which incite the old female singers to chant forth their pious notes, and grateful praises before the divine essence... the reputed holy ground echoes with praise of YO HE WAH." Adair '5 History of the American Indians p.101, 102
The Cherokee had festivals in the moon of October. As a matter of fact the new moon of October was celebrated as the birthday of the world, just as the Hebrews also did. It also continued ten days just as the Hebrews Feast of Trumpets culminated on the tenth day on the Day of Atonement.
I have personally seen the remains of a harvest celebration of the natives at their pow wow, where booths/shelters had been constructed, where the roof was made of corn stalks instead of goodly branches. I thought how much it resembled the Hebrew Sukkah. When Governor Bradford ordered a three-day feast of Thanksgiving, it was very probable that he did it because he was impressed with the harvest festival of the Puritans and the harvest festival of the Redskins, and sought to unite the two in a harvest festival together. Pretty good idea actually! Only he did not consult Scripture for the timing. Adventists and other Christians have camp meetings because the primitive church had camp meetings, only the primitive church consulted Scripture as to the timing of it (Acts 12:3; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 27:9marg. I Cor. 5:8; 16:8). Patrick and the Waldenses are witnesses to that fact since they kept the festival days of Scripture, another whole study you may request.
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:4