The story of the pilgrims is one of the most well known in American history, but you might not know it as well as you think. Here are some common myths about Thanksgiving, and the facts about what really happened.
Thanksgiving Myth: The first Thanksgiving was celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving Fact: According to History.com, the first Thanksgiving actually took place sometime between September 21st and November 11th. It was also a three day fest, and not just a one night dinner the way it is celebrated today. In 1941, President Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would officially be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving Myth: The pilgrims ate Turkey at the first Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Fact: According to the CS Monitor, the pilgrims were more likely to eat duck and geese on Thanksgiving. The reason people eat Turkey today, is likely due to its cheap price.
Thanksgiving Myth: The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, and has been celebrated every year thereafter.
Thanksgiving Fact: To the pilgrims, Thanksgiving was a religious holiday where they would go to church and give thanks. The fall feast in 1621 that involved singing and dancing wasn’t even considered a Thanksgiving by the pilgrims. The holiday didn’t become an official National Holiday until 1863. President Lincoln is responsible for making Thanksgiving a National Holiday.
Thanksgiving Myth: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, have always been a part of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Fact: The pilgrims had to eat what was in season. National Geographic reports that the pilgrims likely had a spread of lobster, clams, nuts, and wheat flour, as well as vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, carrots, and peas.
Thanksgiving Myth: The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621.
Thanksgiving Fact: The pilgrims did not hold the first Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving was actually held in Texas by Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his troops. Thanksgiving was celebrated by American Indians, Europeans, and other cultures around the world before the pilgrims held their famous 1621 fall feast.
Thanksgiving Myth: Thanksgiving has always been a feast.
Thanksgiving Fact: The word “thanksgiving” has not always been associated with a massive feast. According to National Geographic, thanksgiving was actually a time to fast and give thanks in the 17th century.
You can see some funny Thanksgiving quotes here.