Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another Thing Abraham Lincoln Did...

Thanks to the Writer's Almanac for this post 

"Today is Thanksgiving Day. In the fall of 1621, the Plymouth colonists had barely survived the previous winter and had lost about half their population. The Wampanoag people and their chief, Massasoit, were friendly toward the Pilgrims and helped teach them how to live on different land with new food sources. A man known as Squanto, a Patuxet living with the Wampanoag tribe, knew English because he had been a slave in England. He taught the settlers how to plant corn, beans, and squash and how to catch eel and shellfish. The Pilgrims built seven houses, a meeting place, and storehouses full of food, so they invited the Wampanoag Indians to feast with them. Harvest festivals were nothing new; both the English and the Wampanoag had similar traditions in their culture.
At the first Thanksgiving, they didn't eat mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and they probably didn't even eat turkey. The only two foods that are actually named in the primary accounts are wild fowl and venison. The meal was mostly meat and seafood, but probably included squash, cabbage, corn, and onions, and spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper.

Unlike our modern Thanksgiving, this event wasn't just one day. Many of the Wampanoag had to walk two days to get to the Plymouth settlement. There were about 50 English people and 90 Wampanoag, and since there wasn't enough room in the seven houses for the guests, they went ahead and built themselves temporary shelters. In between eating, they played games and sports, danced, and sang.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday on different dates, but on October 3, 1863, in the wake of victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln decided to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the fourth Thursday in November national Thanksgiving Day. In 1941, Congress made it official."

Happy Thansgiving!

smiles,

Melanie
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