The First Thanksgiving

Hi all,

Yes, it’s that time again, another year has flown by and here we are, Thanksgiving week. I have much to be thankful for. We had a bountiful garden this year. Mike and I are healthy and a new daughter-in-law has joined our family. We are excited to share Thanksgiving with our son Zach and his wife, Michele.  As always, this is a busy time of year leading up till Christmas. So, take a moment and remember to be thankful for life’s many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving

Just a refresher on the First Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s a day where nothing more is expected but to enjoy a communal meal with friends and family and be thankful. And of course, there’s always the football.  The Thanksgiving holiday is rich in tradition and while many of the origins behind these traditons are true, others are not  So, I decided to do a bit of research on the origins of the holiday and much to my surprise, I found out quite a few interesting facts.

  • In 1621, 46 of the original pilgrims had died.  Tradition says the survivors celebrated the bountiful harvest of the year with the Native American Wampaneage, who’d taught them where to hunt and fish and how to plant native corn and squash.
  • The more probable scenario was that the Indians randomly came upon the celebration. Drawn by the sound of gunfire of the shooting games of the settlers they were allowed to participant in the festiviites.
  • There were three predated Thanksgiving celebrations in North America, the earliest being in 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida by the Spainish explorer Pedro Menedez de Avile, the second in Texas in 1598 by another Spanish explorere celebrating safe passage across the Mexican desert on the banks of the Rio Grande. The third was in 1619 by the 38 colonists of the James River Colony.
  • The original Thanksgiving meal probably did include Turkey as it was plentiful in the region as well as a number of other game birds. Records document the governor of the colony sent four men out “fowling,” in preparation for the feast and they would have likely returned with such birds as quail, duck and possibly even eagle.
  • Venison was a stable of the feast brought by the warriors (over ninety of them) who attended the festivities coming and going over several days contributing five deer.
  • Seafood would have been included on the menu. Mussels, clams and lobster were plentiful in the region and fish would have been wrapped and steamed over coals.
  • Pumpkin would have certainly been included but not in the form of pie as flour was not available at the time. It would have more than likely been buried and roasted whole in a pit.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the settlers did not eat popcorn at the first Thanksgiving. It was more likely flint corn which would have been boiled and prepared like hominy.
  • The pilgrims did not wear black and white clothing with buckled top hats. The fashion of the time dictated bright colored clothing dyed by natural fibers with leather ties and laces. Buckles would have been too expensive and were not in fashion until the late 17th century.
  • Although George Washington advocated for Thanksgiving to become a National Holiday it was Abraham Lincoln who first proclaimed the holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in 1863 after much urging from Sarah Hale, the editor of Godfrey’s Book for Ladies.
  • However it was FDR who’d first signed the bill into law, fixing the fourth Thursday in November as the official date of Thanksgiving in 1941. (after much wrangling between the third and fourth Thursdays)
  • Honey was used as a sweetner and may have been included on a menu but the first bee hives did not arrive on the North American shores until March of 1622, And you thought, I would be unable to incorporate beekeeping into this post!

And there you have it folks, a few interesting facts about Thanksgiving!

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3 comments
Barbara Sanders says

Once again a great read at lunch time.

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Diane Pohl says

Great read!!! Really enjoy all your work! Hope all is well at home, I’m sure you have a lot to be thankful for, this Thanksgiving.

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