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The PJ Tatler

by
Rick Moran

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November 28, 2013 - 5:54 am

How sure are you that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America? Was the first Thanksgiving really about family? About religion? Did the Pilgrims eat turkey?

Hopefully, this fun piece by Rick Shenkman, the editor of History News Network, will enlighten as well as entertain.

Some samples:

Texans claim the first Thanksgiving in America actually took place in little San Elizario, a community near El Paso, in 1598 — twenty-three years before the Pilgrims’ festival. For several years they have staged a reenactment of the event that culminated in the Thanksgiving celebration: the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan de Onate on the banks of the Rio Grande. De Onate is said to have held a big Thanksgiving festival after leading hundreds of settlers on a grueling 350-mile long trek across the Mexican desert.

[...]

If by Thanksgiving, you have in mind the Pilgrim festival, forget about it being a family holiday. Put away your Norman Rockwell paintings. Turn off Bing Crosby. Thanksgiving was a multicultural community event. If it had been about family, the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them.

[...]

What did the Pilgrims eat at their Thanksgiving festival? They didn’t have corn on the cob, apples, pears, potatoes or even cranberries. No one knows if they had turkey, although they were used to eating turkey. The only food we know they had for sure was deer. 11(And they didn’t eat with a fork; they didn’t have forks back then.)

So how did we get the idea that you have turkey and cranberry and such on Thanksgiving? It was because the Victorians prepared Thanksgiving that way. And they’re the ones who made Thanksgiving a national holiday, beginning in 1863, when Abe Lincoln issued his presidential Thanksgiving proclamations…two of them: one to celebrate Thanksgiving in August, a second one in November.

[...]

Puritans Hated Sex

Actually, they welcomed sex as a God-given responsibility. When one member of the First Church of Boston refused to have conjugal relations with his wife two years running, he was expelled. Cotton Mather, the celebrated Puritan minister, condemned a married couple who had abstained from sex in order to achieve a higher spirituality. They were the victims, he wrote, of a”blind zeal.”

I’m glad for that. Nice to know early Americans had their priorities straight.

The value of myth debunking — although this is more tongue in cheek than serious scholarship — is that it usually illuminates people and events, placing them in an entirely new light and giving the student of history a dramatically new perspective. When you strip away the myths surrounding most historical figures, I find that it hardly diminishes them. Their real exploits assume a new importance and you gain an appreciation for both their failings and achievements.

By the way — Like the Pilgrims, I’m not eating turkey today. Thankfully, I won’t be eating venison either. I’m stuck with being forced to consume a 7 lb prime rib roast.

Pity me.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (7)
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The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by Jebediah Seekonk and his three sons, Baker, Luther, and East Providence, in 1811. They had spent a long winter fleeing from their homes in far away Attleboro, where they were persecuted for having the nicest lawn.

The settlement they founded, along with the local casino workers, was named after them. There was acrimony several years later, and the descendents of East Providence eventually seceded and became part of nearby Rhode Island.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Puritans were also the political radicals of their day. They rejected not only the church hierarchy, but the political one as well. They believed the individual was sovereign and shouldn't be ruled over by a Pope or a king. That's why they were outcasts, fled to Amsterdam, and eventually Massachusetts. They were hated by both the religious and the secular powers.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Off Topic

HAPPY THANKSGIVING
to all the Authors and the Readers at PJM
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, if people want to remember the real, actual FIRST Thanksgiving, that honor has to go to St. Augustine, Florida back in September, 1565. Alas, the menu probably consisted of hardtack and a stew made of chick peas and salt pork, so I don't suppose it will supplant turkey and pumpkin pie.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Enjoy, Rick.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually the Indians weren't invited. They just showed up to see what the noise was all about.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
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