What to know about the first Thanksgiving
- Tradition holds that there was a first Thanksgiving initiated by the Pilgrims and neighboring Indians after a bountiful harvest. It’s told that the two groups came together to enjoy a feast that included deer, (foul) turkey, fish, corn, and other harvested goods. But it that right story?
- It all depends who you read and exactly what transpired. But no matter what actually happened, the tradition grew into a national holiday where American families come together to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal using a variation of dishes that resemble the meal that was celebrated back in the early 1620’s.
- Thanksgiving was mostly a New England tradition during the early days of the continental colonies – those outside of New England never embraced the event. It was during the end of the American revolution that a day of thanks was issued for the successful end of the Revolutionary war and ratification of the constitution.
- Efforts were made during the early 1800’s to make this New England tradition a national day of thanks. It wasn’t successful, not until during the height of the American Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for all Americans to call upon the Almighty for His grace in healing the nation and to offer a day of thanksgiving. The date was set for the last Thursday of November.
- INFO: history of thanksgiving
INFO: The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story
- IMAGES: first thanksgiving
INFO: Who were the Pilgrims
What was traditionally served
Letter from Edward Winslow
In 1621, Edward Winslow penned a letter to a friend in England describing a meal they shared with the Indians, it states:
- “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
- Though we don’t have an official listing of what was served, we can make a summarization of what might have been served from writings and available food items in the region around the early 1600’s:
Winslow notes that foul was gathered during this time – the type of foul most likely included wild turkey that was abundant in the area:
- INFO: wild turkey abundant in New England
YOUTUBE: 5 facts | eastern wild turkey
Winslow’s letter mentioned that the Indians went out and supplied 5 deer for the harvest celebration. White tail deer were common in the area of Massachusetts:
- INFO: white-tailed deer are common
YOUTUBE: Whitetail Deer Compilation
fish was common in the Plymouth Bay area with an abundance of cod, bass, tuna, and the shell fishes of oysters, clams and crab:
- INFO: complete guide to cape cod fishing
YOUTUBE: recreational shellfish guide
Fruits and Vegetables:
Winslow mentioned a successful harvest that was gathered in – this would include the native crop of corn and most likely other crops of peas, onions, beans, and carrots.
- Fruits indigenous to the region included wild grapes, varying berries, plums and the infamous cranberry. Note that the pilgrims didn’t have any ovens, so these dishes were served raw or over smoked fires and kettles.
- INFO: the world according to corn
YOUTUBE: cranberry | how does it grow?
Potatoes, Pumpkins and Squashes:
Pumpkin, squash and other gourds originated in the America’s and was probably introduced to the pilgrims by the Indians. There is some evidence that pilgrim gardens included some of these crops. Of course, they didn’t have flour or other baking supplies to make pumpkin pie. That came later in future Thanksgivings.
- As for potato – which originated in South America – it didn’t make its way up north by the time the pilgrims arrived. It wasn’t until the 17th century when botanists tried to grow this crop. As for the sweet potato – it didn’t show up until later in future Thanksgivings.
- INFO: history of pumpkins
YOUTUBE: everything about potatoes
Thanksgiving 2020 is November 26. Have you planned out your Thanksgiving Day? The pilgrims and Indians celebrated for 3 days back in 1621 – just about 401 years ago.
- We however only take one day to commemorate our many blessings of family and home. Enjoy the holiday with good food and ancestral memories.
- What comments what can you share about this topic idea?
Autumn n’ Thanksgiving Decor
or simply search by entering holiday item or other holiday decor need
Find Interior Design Services Decorators Interior Designers Furniture Painting & Staining top-rated, pre-screened local contractors FREE: download contractor selection enter zip code – powered by HomeAdvisor ™
Cover image credit: type of halloween costume by twenty20.com
end of post … please share it!
Nice pic idea? Leave us a quick comment below.
And please share this pic idea within your social networks.