Thanksgiving as a tradition
Christianity.com says: the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But this feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated.
Thanksgiving Timeline from The Library of Congress
1621 – Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
• 1630 – Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.
• 1777 – George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge, stopped in blistering weather in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America.
• 1789 – President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”
• 1800s – The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
• 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations in 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
• 1941 – President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Turkey as a Thanksgiving tradition
The US President “pardons” a turkey every Thanksgiving. According to the White House website, the traditional pardoning began when President Lincoln’s son Tad begged his father to write out a presidential pardon for the bird meant to be the main dish in the first family’s Christmas feast. The boy argued that the turkey had as much right to live as anyone and convinced his father to let the turkey live, thus beginning the American tradition.
Personally, I can’t see that any turkey could have done anything that requires a presidential pardon to protect it from a death penalty but it is only one of the oddities surrounding this holiday.
Turkey Trivia From the Farmer’s Almanac:
Ben Franklin thought the turkey would be a better national symbol than the bald eagle. According to the Franklin Institute, he wrote in a letter to his daughter:
“For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly…like those among men who live by sharping and robbing…he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little king-bird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district…For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours…”
Turkey Stats from the US Census:
254 million, The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2012. That is up 2 percent from the number raised during 2011. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
For all of you having turkey this thanksgiving
I present the Turkey Roasting Refresher Course from The Farmer’s Almanac
For all of you not having turkey for Thanksgiving
This is what we’re having: A variation on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Vegan bread-less stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes with my favorite Thanksgiving tradition, pickled gherkins. Grandma always had pickled gherkins for holiday meals, I am not sure why but I love those little guys!
The Addams Family Thanksgiving song:
- Why We Eat What We Eat On Thanksgiving (mentalfloss.com)