The OG Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and served 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians and the event stretched the span of 3 days. Many historians believe that sadly only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving due to the high fatality rate among women settlers who didn’t survive that difficult first year in the U.S.
The national holiday, as we know it today, didn’t actually become official until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who actually wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” wrote letters for 17 years to President Lincoln campaigning for Thanksgiving to be made a national holiday, and in 1863 her wish became a reality.
You may want to sit down before hearing this, but Thanksgiving was almost a fast instead of a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from sustenance, which was the plan for “celebrating” their first harvest. THANKFULLY, when the Wampanoag Indians joined them they turned their fast into a three-day feast! We really owe the Indians so much for this simple contribution.
Despite the popularity of the iconic turkey, historians say that no turkeys were served at the first Thanksgiving! Instead animals like deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish were on the menu. They likely did consume pumpkins, but certainly no pumpkin pies. BLASPHEMY. And even crazier is that they also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish. The thought of having no mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving makes me physically ill.
Spoons & knives were readily available and used during the first Thanksgiving, however, forks were a no-show as they weren’t even introduced to the Pilgrims until 10 years later. Forks as a utensil didn’t rise to popularity until the 18th century.