How much do you know about Thanksgiving history?
For four centuries Thanksgiving has been a time to show appreciation of what bounty we have. The tradition began in the fall of 1621 when the Mayflower carried passengers from Plymouth, England in search of a new home. After a long and treacherous journey they finally settled in Massachusetts. Long before the settlers arrived the area was inhabited by many Native American nations, among them the Wampanoag. The natives who been there for a very long time knew how to live well off the land they hunted, fished, and harvested. Chief Massasoit, the Wamapnoag leader, offered to help the pilgrims learn how to use the land in exchange for mutual protection. And so, the Thanksgiving feast tradition began with a shared harvest celebration.
These native “People of the Dawn”, a loose confederacy of tribes located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, were first mentioned in a 1614 map that was the earliest known European representation of the territory.
Here are more facts about the history of this day of thanks:
1) The famous “Pilgrim and Wampanoag” story featured in modern Thanksgiving narratives was excluded from earlier Thanksgiving legends, largely due to tensions between Indians and colonists.
2) Held every year on the island of Alcatraz since 1975, “Unthanksgiving Day” commemorates the survival of Native Americans following the arrival and settlement of Europeans in the Americas.
3) President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving, and in 1941 Congress established it as a national holiday.
4) The original Thanksgiving feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 1. It lasted three days and included 50 of the 112 pilgrim inhabitants and approximately 90 Wampanoag members. Their menu included berries, shellfish, boiled pumpkin, and deer.
We hope this Thanksgiving history adds to the your gratitude and joy.