Letter: Historical revisionism eliminated real aspect of thanksgiving, he saysTO THE EDITOR: An important tradition is on the horizon—Thanksgiving.
By: Sanjeev Dhawan, Ellsworth, Pierce County Herald
TO THE EDITOR: An important tradition is on the horizon—Thanksgiving.
Today, we think thanksgiving is a family gathering and a special meal consisting of turkey, mash potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie, along with a generous amount of booze. Many will say a prayer of blessings on the food.
Historical revisionism has eliminated the real aspect of thanksgiving or made Indians the objects of thanksgiving.
The tradition introduced by European Americans of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back well over four centuries in America. For example, such thanksgivings occurred in 1541 at Palo Duro Canyon, Tex., with Coronado and 1,500 of his men. But it is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.
The Pilgrims set sail for America on Sept. 6, 1620, and, upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters, but were unprepared for a harsh New England winter. Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith.
That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, reaped a bountiful harvest. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are far from want.”
The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. America’s first Thanksgiving Festival included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer and other foods.