21 November 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

I, personally, find it to be a silly holiday…people traveling from all corners of the country to do what? EAT! Sure, I love the turkey & stuffing & cranberries, don’t get me wrong, but that’s all the holiday really is. I hate football passionately, so forget that part of the day…it’s just an annoyance to me to have the TV on. I do enjoy the parades, though the coverage isn’t as good as it used to be. All in all, I find it a misrepresented holiday. And don’t even get me started on “Black Friday”. Shudder You couldn’t pay me to get anywhere near a mall this weekend.
That said, I AM thankful for many things...my friends, my family, anyone who actually reads this blog, my home, heat, food, etc.

But…because I always enjoy knowing the “real” story, here are a few myths about Thanksgiving in the United States.

1. The Pilgrims Held the First Thanksgiving
Uh…technically no. That claims actually goes to San Elizario, Texas, who had their own little celebration in 1598…23 years before the pilgrims…by a Spanish explorer after leading a group of settlers 350 miles. But if you really want to go with that whole east coast Virginia Thanksgiving, it was really the Berkeley Plantation on Dec. 4, 1619…2 years before the pilgrims. The Margaret, not the Mayflower, had brought 38 English settlers to the plantation and had been ordered by the London company that sponsored them to give thanks every year. It was officially recognized by President Kennedy in 1963.

2. Pilgrims ate turkey
Well, no one technically know for sure, we do know they had venison. But no apples, pears or cranberries though. Our idea of Thanksgiving dinner comes from the Victorians, actually. They made it a national holiday in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln issued two Thanksgiving proclamations that we were to have two…one in August, one in November.

3. The First Thanksgiving was because of the great harvest
Actually, the harvest of 1621, wasn't great at all. The barley, wheat, and peas the Pilgrims brought with them from England had failed. Fortunately, the corn did well enough that they were able to double their weekly food rations. The Pilgrims were happy to be alive: The previous winter had wiped out 47 people--almost half their community.

4. The USA invented Thanksgiving
No country does gluttony quite like the United States. The Calorie Control Council, an industry group, says that Americans consume as much as 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving,. That said, humans have been holding harvest festivals for ages. We may wish we invented Thanksgiving, but we didn't. In ancient times, Middle Eastern peoples offered wheat to "The Great Mother" or "Mother of the Wheat." In medieval times, central Europeans celebrated their harvests at Feast of Saint Martin on November 11th. And we can all be thankful our celebrations aren't like those of the Aztecs, who each year would behead a young girl representing Xilonen, the corn goddess.

Well…please enjoy your pumpkin pie & be thankful there will not be any beheadings at your Thanksgiving (hopefully!)


Kassi said...

You clearly have not met MY family.

Thankfully, this year it is my turn to hold the bag. I'm not old enough to work the guillotine.

Dapoppins said...

We were sick. No turkey for us.