Featuring selected 1910s postcards!
The first Thanksgiving in America by the Pilgrims was a celebration of the harvest. Although they did not have an over-abundant amount of meats and vegetables, sauces and dressings, they gave thanks for their blessings.
We continue the tradition of eating turkey on this day because it is the main source of meat the Pilgrims survived on when they arrived in this new world. Bread crumbs or cornmeal made an adequate dressing or stuffing. Over the years, people used whatever was locally fresh because refrigeration was limited. By the late 1800s, cooks stuffed their turkeys with chestnuts and dried cranberries, oysters, sausage, or various fruits with a creative flair. The meal consisted of lavish dishes to be served over the course of a few hours.
An example of a Thanksgiving menu from a 1921 American Cookery magazine:
Three Course Dinner for Small Family in Servantless House
Roast Chicken, stuffed with Chopped Celery and Oysters
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Salad(Fine chopped apples and nuts in red apple cups) Cream Dressing
Mince or Squash Pie a la mode
Larger menu examples can be found here: http://www.vintage-homemaking.info/2008/10/victorian-thanksgiving-menus/
The first Thanksgiving is believed to have taken place over the course of three days in mid-October. So why do we celebrate at the end of November? And who decided Thursday? During the 1700s, the event was celebrated at different times in different states. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the national celebration to take place on the final Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving to be the fourth, and not necessarily the final, Thursday of November.
In this time of economic and political uncertainty, it is important that we take a note from the Pilgrims and gather around our loved ones in thanks for what we have. From all of us at Midway Village, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving packed with love and tryptophan!