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True facts of holiday explained

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Popular dishes eaten for Thanksgiving today are often misinterpreted from what was actually eaten on the historic holiday.

Thanksgiving, a time for celebration and family that reaches back to the very roots of our country, but was it really the way we were told? Most children today are taught the story of the Pilgrims and Indians, who came together for a feast. This tale has become a largely accepted tradition, but again how valid is it?

Here are some of the misconceptions about this holiday.


The traditional Thanksgiving meal usually consists of turkey, stuffing, cranberries, candied yams and pumpkin pie, although very few of these foods were likely present at the original Thanksgiving.

Wild turkey was certainly served at the feast, although not as the main course. It is probable that several other types of fowl were present as well. Stuffing may have been existed in a combination of chestnuts and herbs, as these were readily available.

Cranberries were a known food to the Pilgrims but not in the form they are eaten today. The Pilgrims would probably have run out of sugar at this point and would not have been able to make the sauce so many of us enjoy today.

While pumpkins were most likely at the first Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie would not have been on the menu. The flour and sugar needed for this would likely have already been depleted. However there is evidence that the Pilgrims hallowed out pumpkins and put a custard like mix inside making something that could be considered close to a pie.

Yams were also probably absent at the first Thanksgiving as they are not native to America and would not have been available. In all probability, this first Thanksgiving feast consisted of plenty of wild game, such as venison and wild fowl. Corn, which was a plentiful crop would have also been on the table, although it was probably made into an oatmeal like substance.

Mckensy Neal enjoys Thanksgiving, and spoke about what she knew about the history of Thanksgiving.

“The pilgrims came on the Mayflower and we’re struggling to grow food then the Indians came and helped them” Neal said. Indians showed the pilgrim how to grow food and the pilgrims traded weapons and others things that the Indians couldn’t grow for the Indians food then they all brought food and had a big feast together.”


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The true meaning of Thanksgiving is often overlooked by holiday vacations and Black Friday shopping sprees.

One the most memorable people of the Thanksgiving story is Squanto, the Indian who taught the Pilgrims how to prepare for the harsh Massachusetts winter. He was seen by the Pilgrims as an answer to their prayers and contributed greatly to the success of the colony.

While this is true, Squanto also had a darker side; he helped the pilgrims, but also sought to bring himself to power. Because of his ability to speak English, as well as the native languages, the Pilgrims used him as their ambassador to the native people.

This was a position that he used to his advantage; he would use his status with Pilgrims to extort bribes and favors from local tribes, threatening them with the Pilgrims’ superior weaponry. He even went as far as to attempt to pit the Pilgrims against some of his enemies and almost started a war.

 Joshua Oakley,’18, talked about what his knowledge of the holiday.

 “The pilgrims came to America from England to escape religious persecution” Oakley said. They meant to land in the Virginia colony but landed in present day Massachusetts the first winter was brutal and many died from disease. The Indians “helped” them and they celebrate thanksgiving to thank God for allowing them to survive, the holiday is very romanticized but the core of it is to thank God.”

National Holiday

While Thanksgiving is now a national holiday, it was not always this way. Days of Thanksgiving have been declared since the dawn of our nation; the first was declared by the Continental Congress after the ratification of the constitution.

After this it was mostly states that would herald these dates until president Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving day to promote unity. Presidents succeeding Lincoln would also each appoint a day of thanksgiving until president Franklin Roosevelt made the day a permanent holiday in the year 1942 by placing it on fourth Thursday of November.

So, this Thanksgiving as you sit down to eat with your family, you’ll be able to tell the facts from fiction. 

The following sources were used for this article Encyclopedia Britannica,,,, and   

For more top five article read, Mike’s Grill draws in crowds with smoky smell, tasty grilled meats

This writer can be reached via email: Matthew Sue.       

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