November 25 04

There are few holidays that i enjoy more than Thanksgiving. Every year, my family gets together with family and friends to eat a huge meal and watch football. It’s a really nice family tradition, one that i truly miss living in Canada.

The funny thing, though, is that the charming little story that we all learned in elementary school…you know the one…the Pilgrims sat down with Indians for a big meal of turkey, cornbread, cranberries and pumpkin pie. The Pilgrims dressed in black (with big buckles), and the Indians wore feathers and colorful beads…is all a MYTH!!

Myth #1. the meal.
The truth is that in the fall of 1621, the colonists did have a festive meal – for four days – with the Wampanoag Indians. it wasn’t until 1777 that the Continental Congress declared the first national Thanksgiving. And it wasn’t until 1963 that President Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Myth #2. the food.
The traditional foods that we eat on Thanksgiving – stuffing, turkey, pumpkin pie….these were NOT the foods that were eaten at the first Thanksgiving meal. Most of the actual accounts list corn aplenty and deer, not turkey, as the meat. There were no forks, only knives, spoons, and large napkins that were used to pick up hot foods and to tidy the face and fingers. Food could be eaten directly from the serving dish or you could share a trencher (wooden plate).

Myth #3. the get-up
When i think Pilgrim, i think pointed hat, buckled shoes, black and white. In fact, the Pilgrims did not only wear black – they wore white, beige, black, green and brown. And it’s certainly likely that the Indians were fully clothed…not dressed in loincloths. i mean, after all, it was November in Massachusetts!

Either way, it’s a holiday i love…and this year, while my family is all in Nashville, celebrating together, i will be with my Canadian family, celebrating a tradition that a few of us have started.

All of our American friends living in Canada (and their significant others of course) will be getting together tonight to have a turkey, stuffing, cranberry, sweet potato, pumpkin, potluck dinner. and i, for one, am quite excited 🙂

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