The season is almost upon us. Fall has arrived, and winter is ready to kick off. The season of “pumpkin spice” everything nice means that Thanksgiving is nearly here. As you gather with your friends and family to celebrate another year of life and love, here are a few facts about that first Thanksgiving, and what it meant to those who celebrated it.
- Fall, 1621, Plymouth, Massachusetts; After arriving in December 1620, with no time to gather provisions for winter, with many sick from being on the ship for months, and half of the pilgrims already deceased, the remaining pilgrims gathered with approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians for a three-day feast to celebrate their survival in the first year. That first year was fraught with hardship, hunger, frustration, and disease. They had only rudimentary shelter. The rations brought over on the ships were meager, malnutrition took those that starvation did not, and they supplemented with what they could hunt to get through the winter.
- The common drink at that time was beer, brewed by the puritans and brought over on the ships. Stewed pumpkin took the place of pumpkin pie. There was no milk, cheese, bread, or butter. The actual meal was very basic compared to what we envision. Venison, turkey, fish, corn, dried berries and nuts were the common foods at that time. Potatoes were available, but the thought at the time was that a potato was poisonous.
- Without the help of the Wampanoag Indians, the loss of life would have been much higher. They helped provide food through the winter, and in the spring, they showed the pilgrims how to cultivate and plant.
- The first national Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by President Washington in 1789.
- The state of New York made Thanksgiving an annual “custom” in 1817.
- President Lincoln standardized the last Thursday in November as the celebratory day in 1863. Prior to that, the holiday was announced each year by the President. President Roosevelt, hoping to stabilize the economy during the depression, re-instituted it to be held forevermore on the last Thursday, and it was approved by Congress in 1941.
- Two hundred eighty million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving, and it is the most heavily traveled holiday, with everyone rushing to be with friends and family. The least commercialized major holiday, it signals the beginning of the holiday season. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, which begins the mad rush to do Christmas shopping and start preparing for Christmas. Trees are put up, lights are hung, and many start planning their holiday festivities.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family. Be humble and gracious. Share with others. Even in our worst years, we have so much more than many people do. So again, share with others. This season isn’t about mad shopping and basement bargains. It starts with a day of remembering and being grateful for what we already have, and those who share it with us. Happy Thanksgiving from Tri-County Eye!
Tri-County Eye Clinic has been setting the standard for eye care on the Gulf Coast. We have two convenient locations in Biloxi and Orange Grove, Mississippi and would love to be your home for all of your eyecare needs!
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Gulfport, MS 39503
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Biloxi, MS 39531
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