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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving - Originally Adopted From Pagan Celebrations

It is relatively easy to discover that holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Halloween have been directly adopted from pagan celebrations. 
(For more, see the Holidays category.) 

But what about Thanksgiving?

Note what the publication Holidays Around the World, by Joseph Gaer says about Thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving for the annual harvest is one of the oldest holidays known to mankind ... 'The Romans celebrated their Thanksgiving early in October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia. 'The Christians took over the Roman holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the Roman customs and rituals for this day were observed ... "

Also note the following:

"Throughout the world harvest has always been the occasion for many queer customs which all have their origin in the animistic belief in the corn [grain]-spirit or corn [grain]-mother. This personification of the crops has left its impress upon the harvest customs of modern Europe. .... Throughout the world, as Sir J. G. Frazer shows, the semi-worship of the last sheaf is or has been the great feature of the harvest-home. Among harvest customs none is more interesting than harvest cries; the Devonshire reapers go through a ceremony which in its main features is a counterpart of pagan worship." - pp. 231-232, Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 11, 14th edition.

"The Pilgrims, who in 1621 observed our initial Thanksgiving holiday, were not a people especially enthusiastic about the celebration of festivals. In fact these austere and religious settlers of America would have been dismayed had they known of the long and popular history of harvest festivals, of which their Thanksgiving was only the latest. .... The harvest festival, with its attendant rites, seems to have spread out from ... Egypt and Syria and Mesopotamia. The first or the last sheaf of wheat was offered to the `Great Mother' .... Astarte [equivalent to Ishtar and Eastre] was the Earth Mother of the ancient Semites; to the Phrygians she was Semele; under the name of Demeter she was worshiped by the Greeks at the famous Eleusinian Mysteries..." - pp. 271-272, Celebrations - The Complete Book of American Holidays, Robert J. Myers, Doubleday & Co., 1972

Does it Matter if Holidays Have Pagan Origins?

God has always demanded that our worship to him, no matter how small, must be pure and untainted. God Himself said:

"And God proceeded to speak all these words, saying...You must not have any other gods against my face. Because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION." (Ex. 20:1-5)

It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship" by their very name. So if pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use today, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them. (2 Cor. 6:17) Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.

For more, see:

Paganism - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Formally Celebrate Thanksgiving Day? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why don't Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving? (Yahoo Answers)

Is there anything wrong with buying a turkey, which is on sale, and making a dinner on Thanksgiving? Is Thanksgiving pagan? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

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