One week from today, we celebrate Thanksgiving.
It is one of the most American of holidays. It is steeped in the traditions of families, turkeys, pumpkin pie, and football.
But it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, in earlier years of our nation and the holiday, many in the South didn’t celebrate. Many who did celebrate didn’t have turkey. It certainly didn’t mark the kick-off for holiday shopping.
So, how did we get here?
Thanksgiving Traditions Are the Ones You Make
We’ve all seen the Normal Rockwell painting of the “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner. Grandma placing an enormous turkey on the table as an eager family looks on.
However, according to the scholarly website JSTOR Daily, early Thanksgiving celebrations were outdoor, community affairs. It claims the idea for the holiday came from a magazine editor and was formally declared by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
Given the timing and the president, it isn’t surprising that the holiday found little popularity in the South. Also, the celebration was mostly a middle and upper class affair.
As for that turkey, The New Yorker reports that wild turkey may have been one dish at the original Thanksgiving in 1621. However, feasters more likely ate nasaump, a Native American dish. This was boiled corn meal mixed with vegetables and meat.
Pilgrims also didn’t invite the Native Americans to feast. It’s believed that the Wampanoags showed up after hearing gunfire.
Still, the event was not a bloody affair, even if later occasions came after battles with Native Americans.
The Thanksgiving we celebrate today bears little resemblance to that original event. However, it has become a revered day that brings so many of us together.
It’s also a flexible holiday that allows for the creation of unique regional and family traditions. We’d love to hear what some of yours are in the comments section below.
However you and your loved ones celebrate the holiday, The Keating Agency wishes you a safe and happy day. And if you happen to burn dinner, and that includes burning your home, know that we will be with you every step of the claims process.
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!