It’s November, which means we’re trying not to eat all the Halloween candy in one sitting, and we’re starting to plan Thanksgiving dinner. Will you invite friends over, cook a big turkey, and watch the big game? Will you travel to visit family that you only see once or twice a year?
Whether your plans take you near or far, you’ll probably take part in some of the traditions of Thanksgiving like turkey, autumn flowers, and the “big game,” but did you know many of our modern traditions weren’t observed by the Pilgrims in 1621?
Here are a few surprising facts about the first Thanksgiving and how life was very different for America’s early settlers.
Food at the First Thanksgiving
Today, it’s all about the turkey, but the Pilgrims living in Massachusetts (or what would become Massachusetts) in 1621 probably celebrated the first Thanksgiving with deer. One of the Pilgrims who chronicled the event wrote that the Native American guests invited to the celebration brought five deer and that villagers went “fowling” in advance of the feast. There’s no record of whether the “fowling” expedition resulted in turkey.
Also, pumpkin pie is pretty universal in today’s Thanksgiving celebrations, but the Pilgrims had no ovens for the first Thanksgiving, so they definitely had no pie. They probably didn’t even have any dessert at all because their supply of sugar was virtually non-existent after the harsh winter the Pilgrims endured after their arrival.
Twentieth Century Changes to Thanksgiving
It wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln made the holiday official at the federal level that Thanksgiving was celebrated nationally. Many states had their own celebrations, but the dates and traditions of Thanksgiving were different in each locale. Some states in the South didn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving until the middle of the 19th century.
Today, some of the biggest features of Thanksgiving celebrations include a huge turkey, lots of family laughter, and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Families and their friends will often sit down in front of the television to watch football, and everyone tends to eat turkey leftovers for at least a week after the big meal. Some families even get up the next morning while it’s still dark to participate in Black Friday madness and holiday shopping.
This year, make your Thanksgiving a beautiful one with a Thanksgiving centerpiece or flower arrangement from Griffin’s Floral Design. Imagine the beauty of autumn flowers in their vases as they complement the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.