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The Puritans a.k.a. "The pilgrims"

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Who were the Pilgrims

The name Puritan was first applied to any person who belonged to the Protestants in England. Puritan religious beliefs were first expressed in England in the late 1500's. the actual name puritan was first applied around 1566.
The basic beliefs varied widely, yet they held one simple common idea. They wanted simple religious beliefs, simple order of worship and a simple organization of the church. Most Puritans wanted to purify the church of priestly vestments and elobrate ceremonies. Some wanted to do away with colored windows others wanted to do away with religious music.

Why did they leave England

Disagreement among the Puritans led to small groups breaking away from the Church of England during the reign of King James I. These independent groups were known as Seperatists or Brownist after Robert Brownist after Robert one of their early leaders.
The Seperatists under the leadership of William Brewster in 1608 fled from England to Holland to avoid persecution. While in Holland the Seperatists dicovered they prefered farming to city life and they feared their children were becoming more Dutch than English.There was also the loaming threat of war between Spain and Holland.

America appealed to them

The Separtists longed to return to their English way of life and still keep their own kind of worship. The new land in America appealed to them. A group of English merchants agreed to finance a trip to the new land. In July 1620 the group under the leadership of William Brewster was led back to England.

Landing in America

September 1620 they set sail for the new land in America. They landed in what is now Provincetown Harbor on November 20, 1620 and settled Plymouth Colony on the shore of Cape Cod Bay. The term Pilgrim might of been taken from William Bradfords History. Bradford wrote "they knew they were pilgrims when they left Holland."

The Mayflower

The Mayflower: Built in 1610 and looked like any other ship of its time. It consisted of two decks, three masts and resembled a cods head and a mackerel's tail in shape. It was probably 90 feet long and weighed 180 tons. It is believed that Christopher Jones one of its quater owners served as master. One hundred and two passengers were aboard.

A day of giving thanks decreeded

The first Thanksgiving: After facing many perils and hardships during the first winter, nearly half of the colonists had died. New hope grew in the summer of 1621. Govenor William Bradford decreed a three day feast to be held. This event was never repeated. The first "Thanksgiving Day" set aside for the special purpose of prayer and celebration was held.

Preperation for feast

In July 1623. The women of the colony spent many days prepairing for the feast. The children lent a hand turning roasts on a spit over the open fires. Indiand brought wild turkeys and venison. The men of the colony brought geese, ducks, and fish. The women served the meats with Journey Cake cornmeal bread with nuts, and succotash. The feast of giving thanks to God who had seen them through and provided for them was held outside at long tables.

Years later becomes National Holiday

Later Thanksgivings in the U.S. The custom of Thanksgiving spread from Plymouth to other New England Colonies and on. For many years there was no regular day given, President Lincoln proclaimed that the last Thursday in November 1863, as a "day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father" Each year afterward for 75 years the President would formally proclaim Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the last Thursday in Nov. Congress ruled in1941 that the fourth Thursday in Nov would be observed as a legal federal holiday.
On this day people give thanks with feasting and prayer for the blessings they may have received during the year.

List of Links

Thanksgiving home page:
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