Myths and Facts about Thanksgiving’s Origins


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What is the true story of Thanksgiving?

The well known feast shared with the Wampanoag Indians and the first mention of Thanksgiving are the same event.

During the first winter here for the pilgrims,  in 1621, 46 of the 102 pilgrims actually died. It as the next year , with the help of the Wampanoag Indians that resulted in a plentiful harvest. That feast the second year after they landed, included 90 natives  One of the most celebrated of those natives was a Wampanoag who the settlers called Squanto. He taught the pilgrims where to fish and hunt and where to plant New World crops like corn and squash. He also helped negotiate a treaty between the pilgrims and chief Massasoit.
The word thanksgiving was not even associated with the first feast described above. The first time this term was associated with a celebration was in 1623. While they were enduring a terrible drought the pilgrims decided to spend a day in July fasting and praying for rain. When the next day a light rain occurred, Governor Bradford proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to offer prayers and thanks to God. But, this still didn’t become a yearly celebration.

The next recorded day of Thanksgiving occurred in 1631 when a ship full of supplies that was feared to be lost at sea actually pulled into Boston Harbor. Governor Bradford again ordered a day of Thanksgiving and prayer.

Finally, During the mid-1600s, Thanksgiving as we know it today started. In Connecticut valley towns, incomplete records show proclamations of Thanksgiving for September 18, 1639, as well as 1644, and after 1649. One of the first recorded celebrations commemorating the 1621 feast in Plymouth colony occurred in Connecticut in 1665.

Turkey was prepared at the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and Indians.

This first feast included many fowl and venison, corn, and pumpkin, but there is no record of turkey being served. though it is not certain that it included turkey, along with venison, corn, and pumpkin. The whole feast was prepared by four women settlers and two teenage girls.


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