7 Things You Should Know About Thanksgiving
Read this story and dazzle your family and friends with some cool facts while you tuck into your turkey and pumpkin pie.
-The Betty Editors
Want to wow them with your Turkey Day smarts? Here are some factoids about our most American holiday to share as you pass the platters and take seconds of the stuffing.
That First Thanksgiving
Yes, the Pilgrims did celebrate a harvest festival in 1621 that we tend to think of as the first Thanksgiving. It was a year after they had landed at Plymouth Rock. And that first year was a tough one. They lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. But in the fall they had a bountiful harvest and invited the local Wampanoag Indians who had helped them survive the first difficult winter to the feast.
What They Ate and How They Ate It
The Wampanoags brought venison, which was probably the main course. The Pilgrims also served wild ducks and geese and washed it down with beer. But pumpkin pie, stuffing and bread rolls were not on the menu. The Pilgrims had no ovens for baking and very little flour or sugar. And they didn’t use forks, so it was knives, spoons and fingers for scarfing down the big spread.
George Washington’s Thanksgiving
In New England, there were various other Thanksgiving Days proclaimed during the last part of the 17th century and the early 18th century. Some were held in June, others — harvest festivals — in October and November. After the Constitution was signed, George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789, exactly 220 years ago.
Who Was Against Thanksgiving?
Some thought of it as a local New England remembrance not worth celebrating. President Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, was against a national Thanksgiving Day.