Nov 20, 2015

Earliest Thanksgiving Celebrations

Scholars agree that the first Plymouth Thanksgiving, which lasted for three days, occurred in the fall of 1621 with 90 Native Americans and 50 white settlers in attendance. It was based on English harvest festivals. The Wampanoag men may have been trying to negotiate a peace agreement. They brought five deer to the feast, which probably also included cod, goose, dried corn, and fruit.

There is no historical record of turkey or pumpkin pie. The first feast was not repeated, so it was not the beginning of a tradition and the colonists did not call the day Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was a religious holiday and they would go to church and thank God for a specific event, such as the winning of a battle. On such a religious day, the types of recreational activities the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians participated in during the 1621 harvest feast, such as dancing, singing secular songs, and playing games would not have been allowed. That feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the colonists minds.