Soon we will gather around a large table with the people that are closest to us in the world. There will be little ones running around trying to understand the traditions and history of why we are gathering while the elders will be responsible for shaping that knowledge.
By this standard, there is a great deal of responsibility placed on the shoulders of said elders to not only educate but also make the biscuit crumbs of knowledge memorable enough for the little’s to grow with as memories of their own.
We here at The Crayon Initiative aim to make that task as easy on you as possible as we present to you five fun facts about Thanksgiving that will surely keep the attention of the kids and shape the way they look at the holiday for the rest of their lives.
The First Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving was in celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth Massachusetts in accordance with celebrating their first harvest in the new world (this is what most already know). Little known about that time was the Pilgrims traditionally celebrated any harvests in Europe by fasting and were prepared to celebrate the same way until the Wampanoag Indians showed up and said “no, we are getting down on some food. We will provide half”….(we are totally paraphrasing).
There was NO turkey at the first Thanksgiving. Among the many things consumed were wildfowl, corn; in grain form for bread or for porridge and venison (deer) was there as the main course. It is said that the Wampanoag Indians brought three deer to eat. There might also have been eel and a few small (net caught) fish. And of course there was a plethora of vegetables available from the Pilgrims harvest including pumpkins (probably) but no pumpkin pie.
There were told 55 Pilgrims and 90 Indians in attendance of the first Thanksgiving. This is not a mind-blowing fact in itself, however an interesting fact that there were no more than 5 woman reported to be there. Most of the Pilgrim women had not survived diseases and starvation to see harvest occur and the Indians prohibited their women from attending based on a general distrust of the Pilgrims. The Wampanoag women and children were left safely at camp preparing dishes and having food brought to them later.
The Duration and Set-Up
The first Thanksgiving lasted three days of binge eating, drinking, dancing and creating bonds. Food was brought back to the people not in attendance and replenished as needed. Also notably different from todays Thanksgiving is that there was no long table where everybody broke bread. Heck, there weren’t even any tables at all. Food was set on any flat surfaces available to keep it off the ground including barrels, rocks and benches, then picked at over the three-day period.
Who Made it a Holiday
Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863 after receiving a letter from lobbyist and magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale, who said that making Thanksgiving a Natinal Holiday would be a great way to unify the country after the Civil War. What most people don’t know is that Sarah had previously lobbied 5 Presidents over 20 years for the same proclamation. Sarah is also credited with writing the children’s song “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Wouldn’t it be great if Mary had a little turkey?
So there you have it. Five talking points to bring up around your table this year that might just mold the little minds in attendance and open up their imagination about the history of this awesome day.