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Voorhees Mayor: Remember to give thanks

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new, “ Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote.

Thanksgiving has become the unofficial start of the holiday season. The holiday originated with the Pilgrims in 1621 with a feast celebrating the survival of their first year in the New World. The party was a traditional English harvest festival and lasted three days.

The custom of the annual day for giving thanks continued through the years and in the late 1770s, a national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817, New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century, other states joined in the tradition. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving and, since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. We now celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.

While family traditions vary, Thanksgiving remains a holiday focusing on family, food and celebration. Eat dinner at home or go on the road? Watch the football game or the parade? Dress up, casual or sweatpants? Adult table or kids’ table? Dark meat, white meat or both? Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams or all three? Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or both? Plain stuffing, apple stuffing, sausage stuffing, oyster stuffing or all of the above? Apple pie, pumpkin pie or both? Chocolate pudding, rice pudding or both? Stay awake or take a nap?

Once the eating ends, the shopping begins. The day after Thanksgiving is the national phenomenon known as “Black Friday.” This is the day when many begin their holiday shopping. The origin of “Black Friday” comes from the shift to profitability for retailers during the holiday season. It has traditionally been the time that retailers went from being unprofitable or “in the red” to being profitable or “in the black.” The term dates back to the time when accounting records were kept by hand and red indicated loss and black indicated profit.

During this wonderful holiday of family, food and football, remember to give thanks.

On behalf of the Township Committee, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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