Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

This Thanksgiving postcard is by artist HBG (H. B. Griggs), an artist who produced some of the liveliest and wittiest Thanksgiving postcards.

Little is really known about the first Thanksgiving feast, and most of what we do "know" is really a myth. An article about the First Thanksgiving discusses some of the myths and concludes with a list of things that we actually do know about the first Thanksgiving:

1. The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration in 1621 that lasted for three days.
2. The feast most likely occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11.
3. Approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 52 colonists - the latter mostly women and children - participated.
4. The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, contributed at least five deer to the feast.
5. Cranberry sauce, potatoes - white or sweet - and pies were not on the menu.
6. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag communicated through Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who knew English because he had associated with earlier explorers.
7. Besides meals, the event included recreation and entertainment.
8. There are only two surviving descriptions of the first Thanksgiving. One is in a letter by colonist Edward Winslow. He mentions some of the food and activities. The second description was in a book written by William Bradford 20 years afterward. His account was lost for almost 100 years.

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