400th Anniversary of Thanksgiving

It was in the fall season of 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

During the voyage to America in 1620, the selection of food on the Mayflower ship included brown sugar and oatmeal; oil, vinegar, butter and cheese; ‘hard rack’ ( a cracker-like biscuit), dried peas, prunes and raisins; bacon, salt pork, dried beef and fish; turnips, cabbage, onions and parsnips; spices and jellies; brandy, juice of lemon, limited drinking water, but plenty of beer, because it would last in good condition during the voyage.

The provisions were not just used on the trip across the Atlantic Ocean but were expected to last through the first winter until crops could be planted.

In the New World, they did eat venison (meat of any type of deer), fish (cod and bass), lobster, and wildfowl (including turkey, geese and duck), corn, and began importing cattle in 1624. White flour was a luxury so, Rye ’n Injun Bread was the substitute, made with rye flour and cornmeal. Food was eaten using spoons, knives and their fingers. It would be years later that forks were starting to be used.

Plymouth Colony’s governor, Edward Winslow, noted in his journal simply that the colonists met with Chief Massasoit and 90 of his men for a feast that lasted four days in the autumn of 1621. The clothing for the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, warm clothing in shades of white, beige, black, green and brown. It’s likely that the Indians were fully clothed also to ward off the chill of autumn in New England.

At your own Thanksgiving celebration, info everyone this marks the 400th anniversary of that first event.

Photo: The Thanksgiving meal 400 years ago.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Forgotten Thanksgiving Dishes

You Might be a Descendant of the Plymouth Colony

The Pilgrims’ Journey

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