Thanksgiving Day / Erntedankfest / Dia de ação de Graças / Día de acción de Gracias

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Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom.

Veganism represents a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude as far as is possible and practicable all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, other animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of Humans, other animals and the environment.

In dietary terms veganism means doing away with all products derived wholly or partly from other animals. It also means not wearing animal skins and fur, or using products that have been tested on animals.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar.

Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter.

Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of the drought in 1611, the floods in 1613, and the plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were also called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Pilgrims and Puritans who emigrated from England in the 1620’s and 1630’s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England.

The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a well-recorded 1619 event in Virginia and a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts.

The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest, which the Pilgrims celebrated with Native Americans, who helped them get through the previous winter by giving them food in that time of scarcity.  

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