Busting Myths: This Time – Thanksgiving Myths

Thanksgiving myths

I like to bring this post back around as Thanksgiving approaches each year. Check it out: 

Discussing pronatalism as well as the childfree choice involves the busting of myths. What else has myths that surround it? Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Myths Vs. Facts

Thanksgiving Myth: In 1621, the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, and it was celebrated every year thereafter.

Thanksgiving Fact: The pilgrims did not hold the first Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving was actually held in Texas by Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his troops. Thanksgiving was celebrated by American Indians, Europeans, and other cultures around the world before the pilgrims held their famous 1621 fall feast.

To the pilgrims, Thanksgiving was a religious holiday where they would go to church and give thanks. The fall feast in 1621 that involved singing and dancing wasn’t even considered a Thanksgiving by the pilgrims. The holiday didn’t become an official National Holiday until 1863. President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a National Holiday.

Roosevelt-1941Thanksgiving Myth: The first Thanksgiving was celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving Fact: According to History.com, the first Thanksgiving actually took place sometime between September 21st and November 11th. It was also a three day fest, and was not just a one night dinner the way it is celebrated today. In 1941, President Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would officially be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving Myth: Thanksgiving has always been a feast.

Thanksgiving Fact: The word “thanksgiving” has not always been associated with a massive feast. According to National Geographic, Thanksgiving was actually a time to fast and give thanks in the 17th century.

Thanksgiving Myth: The pilgrims ate turkey at the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Fact: According to the CS Monitor the pilgrims were more likely to eat duck and geese on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Myth: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, have always been a part of Thanksgiving. thanksgiving-feast

Thanksgiving Fact: The pilgrims had to eat what was in season. National Geographic reports that the pilgrims likely had a spread of lobster, clams, nuts, and vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, carrots, and peas.

Something else that can be considered a myth is that Thanksgiving is about family. If it were about family, the Indians would not have been invited…I like to think that the pilgrims invited the Indians as a way to say thanks for helping them figure out how to grow crops in abundance in their new homeland–to appreciate their new generous  neighbors-until we started taking over their land and killing them, that is…

In any case, somehow over time our country and its leaders have created a certain tradition that is not based on what really happened. To that I say, celebrate Thanksgiving any way you like. Or not. Feast on food. Or not. See friends or family. Or not.

Me–I like the 17th century model without the fast. I tell my loved ones how much they mean to me. I take an extra moment to give thanks to all the good in my life. But turkey? Nope. Most years, I go to a movie while everyone else is eating too much. This year, it’s lamb shank with loved ones!

You?

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Post updated from Nov. 2017

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