By: WB Daniel Genchi
Freemasonry, also known as the Masonic fraternity, is a fraternity that traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons in the Middle Ages. Freemasonry has a long and storied history that dates back centuries, and it has played a significant role in the development and evolution of many cultural and societal traditions throughout the world. One such tradition that Freemasonry has had a hand in shaping is the American Thanksgiving holiday.
The origins of the American Thanksgiving holiday can be traced back to the early days of the colonies in North America. The first recorded Thanksgiving celebration took place in 1621, when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans gathered together to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest and to celebrate their successful establishment of a new colony in the New World. This tradition of Thanksgiving continued throughout the years, but it was not until the late 18th century that it became a national holiday.
Freemasonry played a significant role in the development and evolution of the American Thanksgiving holiday in several ways. First and foremost, many of the early leaders and founders of the colonies in North America were members of the Masonic fraternity. These men, who were deeply influenced by the principles and values of Freemasonry, saw Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give thanks for their blessings and to promote unity and brotherhood among the people of the colonies.
Additionally, Freemasonry has always placed a strong emphasis on the importance of charity and philanthropy. Thanksgiving, with its focus on giving thanks and sharing with others, aligns with these values of Freemasonry. Many Masonic lodges throughout the United States hold Thanksgiving dinners and other charitable events to give back to their communities and to promote the values of the fraternity.
In addition to its influence on the Thanksgiving holiday itself, Freemasonry has also shaped many of the traditions associated with Thanksgiving. For example, the tradition of saying grace before a meal is often attributed to the Masons, who have long had a tradition of offering thanks and giving thanks for their blessings. The Masonic ritual of the "Corn, Wine, and Oil" is also said to have inspired the Thanksgiving tradition of sharing a feast with others.
Overall, Freemasonry has had a significant impact on the American Thanksgiving holiday and the traditions associated with it. From its influence on the early founders of the colonies to its promotion of charitable values and traditions, Freemasonry has played a key role in shaping the holiday that we know and celebrate today.