Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pennsylvania Dutch Thanksgiving

September 24th is Schwenkenfelder Day, the day some Pennsylvania Germans celebrate Thankgiving.

On September 24, 1734, shortly after their arrival in Pennsylvania, the Schwenkenfelders celebrated their first Gedaechtnisz Tag, the September Thanksgiving. Though less than 3,000 people in Pennsylvania still observe Schwenkenfelder Day, it is the oldest continuous Thanksgiving tradition in America.

Who are the Schwenkenfelders? They are 'Plain People' who are the followers of the Anabaptist mystic, Kasper Schwenkfeld von Ossig, a contemporary of Martin Luther, born in 1490 of an old aristocratic family in the Duchy of Leibnitz. They were prosecuted everywhere in Europe until they fled in 1733/34 to Pennsylvania because of its religious freedom. Schwenkfelders Schwenckfelder Passenger Ships: Pennsylvania Merchant 1733 St. Andrew 1734

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