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November 18, 2007

The History of Thanksgiving

As we get ready to go home for the holidays and (over)indulge in the traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce I thought it might be a good idea to learn a little bit about the origins of these traditions. The History Channel has a great documentary on the History of Thanksgiving and some of the facts it presents on this website http://www.history.com/minisites/thanksgiving/ are quite eye-opening. For instance, did you know that the first Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days long and probably consisted of roasted goose, fish, venison and lobster instead of the typical turkey and mashed pataters?

And what about table manners? Did Pilgrim moms scold their kids for holding their forks the wrong way or putting their elbows on the table during the feast? In fact, Pilgrims didn't even have forks to eat with! They mainly used spoons, knives and their hands to shovel the bountiful feast into their mouths. This Thanksgiving, I dare you to start eating with your hands and see what happens...your mom will probably scream at you but you can casually respond, "What? I just want to replicate the table manners of the first Thanksgiving, is that such a crime?" Ok so maybe this will result in you not getting any pumpkin pie for dessert and having to clean all the dishes by yourself, but at least you will be historically accurate, right?

Another thing that I found interesting on the site was the page called "Mayflower Myths" that describes various myths about Thanksgiving and proves them false, http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=874&display_order=2&mini_id=1083
I found it very interesting that the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated in 1691 was not actually repeated as a tradition in that time period. Instead, Thanksgiving was considered to be a religious holiday associated with the Church and giving thanks for the winning of a battle or something similar. Thus the feast would not have even been considered a "Thanksgiving" by the Pilgrims because it was a completely secular celebration. I find it very intriguing that over the years our culture has changed Thanksgiving so much from its traditional meaning. There are lots more cool myths on the site so I recommend checking them out.

Alright well I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and eats lots of food. To start the holiday off right I want to leave you with this quite humorous comic, I hope it at least makes you smile :)

Haha poor Big Bird...

Later,

Kristen

Posted by khenkels at November 18, 2007 02:37 PM