Monday, November 9, 2020

Thanksgiving: Why Turkey?

I have a couple of kids that aren't too keen on eating turkey.  But, other members of the family are die hards:  they have to have a stuffed turkey with all of the fixings or it just isn't Thanksgiving.  As for me, I enjoy eating the meal either way, but just don't enjoy the hours and hours in the kitchen.  The trade off isn't worth it to me any more.  I would be just has happy going out to eat our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant.  I can enjoy family and friends and not have to be concerned about all the work in the kitchen.  It is much cheaper to make it yourself, because most of the traditional foods aren't very costly.  And, you get leftovers for days..whether you want them or not is still in question.  

 Why do we have turkey on Thanksgiving?  Some say it is because they ate wild foul for the fist Thanksgiving, but is that turkey or could it also be duck or geese as well?  Seems like historians disagree on this.  Practically speaking, a turkey can feed a large crowd, whereas a chicken just doesn't do the job.  

When did Thanksgiving become a holiday? 

Did it start with the Pilgrims like we were taught in school?

This is what one sources says:

That first "thanksgiving" was a harvest festival in the autumn of 1621 – less than a year after the colonists arrived.  It's thought that some 50 Pilgrims and 90 Indians attended the celebration, and ate many of the same foods Americans now consider traditional Thanksgiving fare – including native vegetables and roasted turkey.

But for the colonists, that first celebration was more secular than it was religious.  For the most part, the three-day event was one of feasting and games.  And it was never repeated. "

After losing half of their original people the first winter, it must have been a very joyful occasion to have a harvest and definitely worth celebrating and being thankful.  If we celebrated for 3 days of Thanksgiving, like they did, our thoughts would be more centered on gratitude instead of Black Friday and what we can buy for Christmas.  What has happened to us through the years?  

It wasn't until later that Thanksgiving evolved into a National holiday:

President Washington - 1789 announced a celebratory of public Thanksgiving and prayer shortly after the American Revolution

President Lincoln - November 26, 1863 in gratitude for a union army victory at Gettysburg

President Roosevelt - December 26, 1941 national holiday 4th Thursday in November

In one of the articles I read, it sounds like the traditional foods that we have now are not things they had for the first Thanksgiving.  

"Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations"

Regardless of where it started and how it has evolved, Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for our blessings.  It has been a very different year for all of us.  The pandemic has changed things for us, and many have lost their lives.  Yet, despite all of the challenges we face, there is always something to be grateful for and to celebrate.  

If you don't like turkey, make or do whatever you want.  Thanksgiving has evolved through time, and so can your celebration.  It doesn't matter what you eat.  But, whatever you do, take some time to reflect back on the past year and the things you are grateful for.  Don't be too quick to jump into Christmas.  Life is a gift and we have so much to be grateful for.  

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