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Mythsgiving: A Feast for the Mind

Is the Thanksgiving we celebrate today the same as it was?
Mythsgiving: A Feast for the Mind

Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated holidays in our country, and has had traditions that have lived on longer than most students! It’s become almost second nature to spend time family and friends, eat lots of turkey, and do this on November 24th, year after year. But is this ACTUALLY how they spent this holiday? No! I’m here to debunk some Thanksgiving traditions that may not be true! After all, the best thing after filling your body with food is to fill it with knowledge!


Let’s start off with a big one: Did they eat turkey at Thanksgiving? Actually, they did NOT! According to Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim at the first thanksgiving, “For three days we entertained and feasted, and [the Native Americans went out and killed five deer, which they brough to the plantation.” Deer was the main course at this holiday, not the turkey. In fact, there is no recording of whether they ate turkey at all? The reason behind eating deer? It was new to the pilgrims! They had seen deer in their homeland, but it was strictly prohibited to be eaten, as they were mostly featured and found on home estates. Pumpkin pie was also a no-go; there were no flour mills or milk to make it! If they did eat pumpkin, they ate it boiled, which does not sound as appeasing to me. Some foods that WERE featured on the table were seafood (i.e bass, oysters, cod), and native berries. 


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Did the original Thanksgiving take place in November? In fact, it did not! By November, according to historian Richard Ehrlich, “the villagers were working to prepare for winter, salting and drying meat and making their houses as wind resistant as possible.” They spent most of Thanksgiving in between late September and October, once they had harvested. Another time related myth: Did the Pilgrims hold a feast every year following? They didn’t! There is no concrete evidence that they celebrated the year afterwords, and why would they? The new boatload of Pilgrims had been shipped in, and the harvest they had was disappointing from the first. There was no reason to celebrate, so they evidently did not.


And finally: some myths about pilgrims: Were the settlers actually CALLED pilgrims? Surprisingly, no they were not! It wasn’t until the 20th century that ANYONE had actually called them ‘Pilgrims’, the original settlers called themselves ‘Saints’ to associate themselves with Christianity. And their celebration didn’t even center around that religion, as they held gambling, athletic games, and EVEN target shooting. More ‘Saints’ myths busted: The pilgrims did NOT wear black hats with buckles. The piglrims did not dress in black, they did not wear buckles AT ALL, and didn’t have big hats. The reasoning why modern Americans think they do is because of the paintings that were made in the 19th century, where they were painted in that way because it was viewed that wearing buckles and black was older-fashioned.

Those are all the myths that I have to debunk, and thank you to Uncle John’s Ultimate Bathroom Reader for gathering all of this interesting information into one place. This information may be wild and make you think illy of everything you’ve just celebrated, but this is in no way trying in to influence your Thanksgiving celebration, it’s just for entertainment. I hope I’ve engrossed you, and I cannot wait to have even more fun at Christmas!

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About the Contributor
Dain Meyer
Dain Meyer, Staff Writer
Dain is a freshman writer for the newspaper at Wauconda High, is also featured in the Theater program (Dram Club and Productions), and is an FBLA member. He likes to cover essentially everything that he is able to and is willing to do anything to make this school entertaining and a better place. Dain can be found drawing, writing, eating, or spending time with his friends on his off time.
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