Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated across the globe, but it remains a particularly important holiday for North Americans, as it celebrates the 1621 harvest feast between the English colonists and the indigenous Wampanoag people, which took place at the Plymouth Plantation. In the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Best hymns for Thanksgiving
All Creatures of Our God and King
Inspired by Psalm 148 the hymn ‘All Creatures of Our God and King’ started life as the poem the ‘Canticle of the Sun’, written in 1225 by St. Francis of Assisi. it was translated into English by William Drape between 1899 and 1919.
Did you know the hymn has featured in an episode of Mr Bean?
We Gather Together
The Dutch hymn ‘We Gather Together’ dates back to the late 16th century when it was written to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout in 1597. Theodore Baker translated the hymn into English in 1894, and it started entering American hymn books in the early 20th century. Today it is a popular Thanksgiving hymn that is sung at services all around the US.
As Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest as well as the coming together of the English colonists and the indigenous people of America, it is only right that we should list a hymn that celebrates the harvest. ‘Bountiful Harvest’ was written by prolific 19th century hymn writer Fanny Crosby (she also wrote Blessed Assurance).
The Star-Spangled Banner
The US national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, started life as the poem ‘Defence of Fort M’Henry’, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. He wrote the lyrics after witnessing British ships bombarding Fort McHenry during the 1812-15 war between the USA and Britain. It was officially made the US’s national anthem in 1931 and will be sung at Thanksgiving day celebrations across the USA.
Read more about the history of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and who composed it here.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Written in 1758 by Robert Robinson when he was aged just 22, the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ celebrates Divine Grace. Robinson was inspired by 1 Samuel 7:12, when the prophet Samuel raises a stone as a monument, saying, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’.
In the USA it is sung to the American folk tune Nettleton.