Thankful for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving then and now
The winter of 1620 was very hard on the settlers, nearly half of the 102 did not survive. In the spring of 1621 the pilgrims and the Indians decided to call a truce. This is when the pilgrims became know by the name pilgrim. Indians had taught the survivors of Plymouth Rock how to plant maize (corn), how to fish, and how to hunt. The pilgrims would not have survived if not for the help of the Indians.The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians in the fall of 1621.
OK, enough of the history lesson. When I think of that first Thanksgiving I picture a few large table, kind of like rough carved picnic tables, set outside under the trees. The leaves on the trees are turning bright orange, gold, rust and browns. I can just see those table practically groaning with the weight of the goodies piled upon them. The food wasn't what we think of as traditional, there are many things we eat now that was not on the menu then. For example, according to historians, there was not: ham, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce, chicken or eggs, and milk. All of these things were not available to the pilgrims at that time
However, their table was not bare by any means. It was laden with goodies (well, goodies for that time period), such as cod, eel, clams, lobster and seal from the sea, thanks to the Indians. They also had goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge, eagles, venison, and wild turkey. The wild turkey is questionable, apparently at that time, any wildfowl was called turkey by the pilgrims. The vegetables on the menu were pumpkin ( no pie though), peas, beans, onions, carrots and parsnips. And for dessert they had grapes and plums.
All of the Pilgrims were dressed in their finest, in an array of white, beige, black, green, and brown. While the Indians were in their deerskin's mingling with the pilgrims. There they were everyone eating with their fingers, each enjoying their favorite food. It was a time of peace and fellowship.
Today Thanksgiving spending time with family, stuffing yourself with turkey and all of the trimmings. Watching the football game and parades on TV and hopefully giving thanks for all that you have.
The typical meal for today's family seems to be : turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, biscuits or rolls, and many other things depending upon the family. For dessert you may have; pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple, blueberry or blackberry pie, a jello mold of some kind, and a large beautifully decorated cake. Again, dessert depends on family tradition.
Whatever you have at your Thanksgiving dinner I hope you enjoy it. I wiah you and your families a wonderful day and a blessed year to come. And to our Canadian friends - I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and hope you have many more.
Inspirational Thanksgiving quotes and sayings
- He who thanks but with the lips thanks but in part; the full, the true Thanksgiving comes from the heart. - J. A. Shedd
- On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. - William Jennings Bryan
- This is the finest measure of thanksgiving: a thankfulness that springs from love. - William C. Skeath
- Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. - E. P. Powell
- Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. - Robert Caspar
- Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. - Edward Sandford Martin
- Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. - W. T. Purkiser
- Thanksgiving like contentment is a learned attribute. The person who hasn't learned to be content will not be thankful for he lives with the delusion he deserves more or something better. - Robert Flatt
- Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life...a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seed time and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. - Ray Stannard
- Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home. - Wilber D. Nesbit
- Thanksgiving is only possible for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory. - Author Unknown
- Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in you own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in. - Phillips Brooks
- The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. - H. U. Westermayer
Symbols of Thanksgiving
- Turkey It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a big. beautiful, golden brown turkey sitting in the place of honor on your table. The turkey got it's name from the sound it makes when it is scared 'turk, turk, turk'.
- Cornucopia - Also know as the 'horn of plenty' the cornucopia is probably the best known symbol of the harvest time. Traditionally, the cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled with the bounty of the harvest.
- Corn - Another popular Thanksgiving symbol is corn. It's variety of colors with is various meaning make for an interesting symbol. Corn has been traditionally used as a decoration for doors, table and wreaths. It is said to have been one of the foods eaten at the first Thanksgiving.
- Pumpkin Pie - I don't know about you but my family would stage a mutiny if I didn't have a pumpkin pie for dessert at Thanksgiving. According to historians pumpkins have been a favorite harvest time symbol for over 400 years.
- Beans - Way back in the year of 1620 the Native Americans taught the pilgrims how to grow bean, alongside the corn, making them a favorite for harvest time. Pole beans especially have been a Thanksgiving day favorite since the pilgrims.
- Cranberry - The cranberry received it's name from the pilgrims when they saw a resemblance to the drooping head of the bird, crane. It didn't take them long to make this bitter fruit a Thanksgiving favorite. They quickly learned how to sweeten it with maple sugar.
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© 2010 Susan Hazelton