Mayor’s Column: Thanksgiving is upon us

Mayor Mignogna and Township Committee wish you a happy and healthy holiday.

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

Thanksgiving, as we know it, 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 an annual day for giving thanks continued through the years, and in the late 1770s, the Continental Congress. Suggested a day of national Thanksgiving.

In 1817, the state of New York 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. Since then, each President has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. We now celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving has become the unofficial start of the holiday season. Businesses look forward to the following day, which is the national phenomenon that has become known as “Black Friday.” The origin comes from the shift to profitability for the 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 Saturday after Thanksgiving is recognized in Voorhees as “Small Business Saturday,” and encourages our community to patronize small local businesses. The Monday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as “Cyber Monday,” since retailers give discounts to online shoppers.

While traditions vary, Thanksgiving should remain a holiday that focuses on food, tradition, family and gratitude.

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