A Harvest festival observed by the Pilgrims at Plymouth
The most prominent historic thanksgiving event in American popular culture is the 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. Autumn or early winter feasts continued sporadically in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance and later as a civil tradition.
The Plymouth settlers had settled in land abandoned by Patuxet indians when all but one had died in a plague. After a harsh winter killed half of the Plymouth settlers, the last surviving Patuxet, Squanto came in at the request of the Abenaki indian Samoset, the first native American to encounter the Pilgrims. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them until he too succumbed to plague a year later. The Wampanoag Chief Massasoit also gave food to the colonists during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient.
The Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest in 1621. It included 50 people who were on the Mayflower and 90 Native Americans.
Two colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth.
Plymouth Plantation Governor William Bradford:
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they can be used (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
Assistant Governor, Edward Winslow:
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
The Pilgrims held a true Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 following a fast,and a rain which had broken a drought.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving 2019.
MILESFORTIS WILL RETURN