Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love getting together with family to share a large feast and playing “how many belt buckle holes I can drop”. Afterwards its lying on the couch watching football and the breath-taking blows of the kids jumping on my stomach. And this year (if you are me), desert will include apple pie AND a birthday cake. Could there be a better day on the calendar?
Today Thanksgiving may be a family feast and the collective giving of thanks, however history tells us its not the same gathering we see portrayed on TV. After doing some reading I found a few things that I’m sure were not said at the first Thanksgiving dinner…
“Happy Thanksgiving Everyone”
Thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific gift or event. The feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered “thanksgiving” to the pilgrims. The dinner was actually a celebration of the harvest and was served weeks before when we now celebrate the holiday. Plus, the Indian friends were never invited to religious events.
“I like that buckle on your hat Bill”
Contrary to many modern images of the Pilgrims, buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century. Also, they would have addressed him as William. Bill was a nickname not yet adopted.
“Can someone please pass the potatoes?”
Nope, no potatoes in Plimoth, Massachusetts. We dont even know if they ate turkey… birds were served as a side dish. Turkey on Thanksgiving was made popular by the Victorians in the 1860’s. We DO know that the pilgrims had served deer and fish… yum.
“How’s the new Log Cabin coming John?”
No Pilgrim has ever lived in a log cabin. The Germans and Swedes introduced the idea of a “Log Cabin” in America late in the seventeenth century. Sorry famous artist renderings, they all lived in wood clapboard houses made from sawed lumber.
“After dinner there will be a get together at Plymouth Rock”
Not unless they had a rock named “Plymouth” in Provincetown on Cape Cod.
“This was fun, let’s do it again next year!”
The harvest feast with the Indians was not an annual event. The next “Thanksgiving” was not recorded until a good harvest season in 1622.
“Who’s in for a game of football… Pilgrims vs. Indians?”
First, they called themselves “Saints”. The term “Pilgrims” was given to early settlers by Americans in the 20th century. Second, no football. However, there may very well have been a Saints versus Redskins marbles match.
Let the history books and tradition fight it out. I say put on the silly hats and enjoy the turkey. Have a great Thanksgiving – from your friends at Bit Rebels!