Happy Thanksgiving!

Plymouth Rock

This is a revised version of last year’s post…

The North American holiday of Thanksgiving was born of tragedy. The Mayflower, filled with settlers from England, docked in Plymouth, Massachusetts in December 1620. Of the 102 passengers and around 30 crew on board, only five women of eighteen survived the winter, and around half the men and crew.

The following spring, the Wampanoag, a native people, taught the incomers which crops were endemic to the New World, and how to fertilise their crops with fish. This act of good will let to a plentiful harvest, and gave the Pilgrims hope that they might survive the next winter.

American Thanksgiving was set as the fourth Thursday in November by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 when he signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.

Many of the foods that make up a Thanksgiving meal are linked to that first harvest 3-day feast that early settlers shared with the Wampanoag – sweet corn, wild turkey, pumpkin and beans. Today, the Thanksgiving feast is a central part of celebrations.

But the real depth of Thanksgiving is found in relationships. Millions of Americans travel from one state to another, or even across the continent, to go home for Thanksgiving. The day is a time for family, for friends, for being together and being grateful those relationships exist.

So whatever you are doing today, be thankful. And if you are able to, spend a little extra time with those near and dear to you. Happy Thanksgiving!

* Kirsten Johnson was the PPC for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election. She is a pianist and composer at www.kirstenjohnsonpiano.com.

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5 Comments

  • Innocent Bystander 22nd Nov '18 - 10:24am

    Were these the native people the settlers then slaughtered and stole their lands and penned up the few survivors into “reservations”?
    I wouldn’t celebrate it.

  • I remember reading an interview with a member of the Wampanoag tribe a few years ago.

    He had attended one the the big inter-tribal Pow Wows and was asked by a group of Indians from other tribes which tribe he was from. He told them that he was a member of the Wampanoag and the reply came “Oh I don’t know them, where are they from?” He told them that his was the tribe who had helped out the Pilgrim Fathers.

    “You f#@!^*& idiots.” came the reply, “If you’d’ve killed ’em all then we wouldn’t be in this mess now”.

    I think they had a point!

  • David Warren 22nd Nov '18 - 3:58pm

    Reading this I am reminded of the immortal words of Malcom X.

    ‘We didn’t land on Plymouth rock, the rock was landed on us!’

  • And in England we celebrate thanksgiving by not celebrating thanksgiving because it’s an America thing and we are not America.

  • Gordon Lishman 23rd Nov '18 - 8:38am

    David Warren: actually Cole Porter, I think.

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