Thanksgiving Webquest

The Thanksgiving Story

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620.  There were 102 people who was on the Mayflower.  Their first winter was hard and 46 people died. In the year 1621, they had lots of food grow that year and the colonists (pilgrims) decided to celebrate with the first Thanksgiving feast.They invited 91  Indians who had helped them survive their first year.  It is believed that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help  of the natives (Indians). The feast was more of a traditional English harvest festival than a true "thanksgiving" observance.   It  lasted three days.

Governor William Bradford sent "four men fowling" (hunting) after wild ducks and geese.  We're not sure if wild turkey was part  of their feast.  However, it is certain that they had venison. The term "turkey" was used by the Pilgrims to mean any sort  of wild fowl.

They probably didn't have pumpkin pie that year.  The supply of flour had been long diminished, so there was no bread or pies of any kind.  They  did eat boiled pumpkin, and they made a type of fried bread from corn.  There was also no milk, cider,  potatoes, or butter.  Because all the cows were wild, there was no milk, cheese, or dairy products. The newly-discovered potato was still  considered by many Europeans to be poisonous, so they probably did not eat potatoes.  But the feast did include fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit,  clams, venison, and plums.

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good crops they had received.  By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving.

George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, although some were opposed to it.  President Thomas Jefferson didn't like the  idea of having a day of thanksgiving.

It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, worked hard to get Thanksgiving made a national holiday. Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale's obsession became  a reality when, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of  Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. The date was changed a couple of times, most recently  by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who set it up one week earlier  in order to create a longer Christmas  shopping season.  The people got upset and so the  president moved Thanksgiving back to its original  date two years later. And in 1941,  Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth  Thursday in November.

On January 31, 1957, Canada's Parliament declared the second Monday in  October of each year to be "A Day of General Thanksgiving to God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed".

CORNUCOPIA, (korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh)One of the most recognizable symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, also called horn of plenty.  It is a decorative  motif, originating in ancient Greece, that symbolizes abundance. The original cornucopia was a curved goat's horn  filled to overflowing with fruit and grain.  It symbolizes the horn possessed by Zeus's nurse, the Greek nymph  Amalthaea, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished.