Fall festivals held in celebration of the year's harvest are as old as farming itself. The collection and preservation of the bounty of the fields and forests has always been a compelling reason to celebrate for people facing the hardships of winter.

Few have had more reason to celebrate a bountiful harvest than the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Rock colony in the fall of 1621. The previous winter, the first they'd endured since the Mayflower landed in 1620, had been a brutal one, and many of the colonists had died. But the harvest of 1621 was a plentiful one, and to celebrate this good fortune and to offer thanks to the Indians without whom the colony would have been unlikely to survive, Governor William Bradford ordered a three-day celebration.

Just like our modern Thanksgiving celebrations, the menu at the first celebration was large and varied: venison in abundance, fish, boiled pumpkin (but no pumpkin pie, for there was no flour left for the crust!), lobster, berries, watercress, corn bread, clams, and plums. There may or may not have been turkey. Governor Bradford sent four men "a' fowling," but there is no record of whether they were successful.

While the events that inspired Thanksgiving might date back to the early Seventeenth Century, official recognition as a holiday occurred much more recently. In 1798, President George Washington declared a "national day of thanksgiving," Initially it was not declared to be a recurring event. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, responding to years of effort spearheaded by Boston magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale, declared the last Thursday in November to be a national day of thanksgiving. The date of the celebration was changed several times by subsequent presidents, and was finally established by Congress in 1941 as a national holiday falling on the fourth Thursday in November.

Here at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, our loyal customers are a huge part of the bounty for which we are so thankful. Our success is the direct result of the people who do us the great honor of selecting us as their supplier. From all of us at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, our heartfelt thanks for your patronage, and our best wishes for a "bountiful harvest" in the year to come.