PURITANS AND PILGRIMS
Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday have just passed, but not everybody knows the meaning and story of Thanksgiving Day.
After the Church of England had split off from the Roman Catholic Church, a few Christian groups that didn’t identify themselves with the Anglicans, took root in England.
Puritans were a dissident faction who wanted to “Purify” – hence their name Puritans – the Church of England from the trappings of Catholicism.
Pilgrims, also called Separatists, aimed at separating themselves from the Church of England which they considered corrupted, and giving rise to an autonomous entity.
Both groups were not tolerated by government authorities, but Separatists were persecuted to such an extent that they were forced to leave the country. They settled in Holland, where they remained for a long time.
In 1620, one hundred Pilgrims or so landed on the shores of Massachusetts. Once there, they came in touch with the Native Americans and established a good relationship with them. They sowed a field with the seeds they had received from the Natives, and the following year they had a good crop. They gave thanks to God both for the crop and everything. Ever since that time, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in America.
Puritans emigrated to America as well, and it seems that later the two groups merged together.
Puritans have greatly influenced custom, literature, and politics. They aimed at promoting the individual instead of the society as a whole. The rise of the modern novel originates from the Puritans. The first novelists, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding were greatly influenced by Puritans.
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