Some American Thanksgiving Mythsfrom Ila Campbell
On the radio the other day, I heard some nifty little facts about Thanksgiving that demonstrated to me how far off our "grand, old traditions" can be sometimes, and thought I'd share them with you.
1) The Pilgrims that we hear so much about did not, in fact, call themselves Pilgrims. They referred to themselves as Saints.
2) Pilgrims (Saints!) never wore big hats and shiny, big buckles like every elementary school pageant in the country would have you believe. That was the invention of 19th-century painters who thought the outfits looked 'old-fashioned'. Besides, forged metal was extremely expensive to these immigrants and not something they would have wasted the metal on when they had it.
3) There was no turkey the first Thanksgiving. No, really. Apparently, if you want a traditional Thanksgiving, you should be eating venison.
4) Thanksgiving was not in November, but sometime in late September or early October, which as any of you who've lived on a farm know, is the actual harvest time.
5) There was no Second Thanksgiving to follow that landmark First Thanksgiving. The harvest was meagre that year and a whole boatload of new immigrants had just arrived that had to be clothed, housed and fed for the full winter, so the food could not be spared.
6) The main activities were eating, drinking, and games.
#6, at least, is something that has not changed. So enjoy whatever game is on TV (or enjoy the preoccupation of the game-watchers), loosen the waistband of those slacks, enjoy a beverage of your choice, and count your blessings. Then you will be following the traditions of Thanksgiving, no matter what other trappings it comes with.