“The reason that we have so many myths associated with Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It doesn’t originate in any one event. It is based on the New England puritan Thanksgiving, which is a religious Thanksgiving, and the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England and maybe other ideas like commemorating the pilgrims. All of these have been gathered together and transformed into something different from the original parts.”
– James W. Baker, Senior Historian at Plimoth Plantation (www.history.com)
I never really thought about what myths there might be about Thanksgiving considering that it is still a very new holiday (besides Patriots Day). It is very true that Thanksgiving doesn’t have a real root to it’s origin. Myths are always something worth talking about. It’s in human nature to conjure up things or to create a telephone effect on something that is true and turn it into something that may have truth behind it though it isn’t accurate. Or, something that isn’t true but is derived from something that is. Rumors basically.
The rumors I have come across are very interesting. There are five that I will discuss. One of course is the first Thanksgiving which I’ve discussed in an earlier article, what day the original Thanksgiving took place and took place there after, the attire of the pilgrims, the possessions that the pilgrims brought with them to the New World, and the supposed designated landing of the Mayflower.
Myth 1: The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter.
According to history.com, the feast wasn’t repeated. A tradition can’t be made of something that isn’t ritual. And the pilgrims didn’t call it Thanksgiving, to them that was a religious holiday set aside only for when they went to church to thank God for a specific event such as winning a battle. This was a non-religious event. There was no reason to say that it was a celebration of thanks.
Myth 2: The original Thanksgiving feast took place on the fourth Thursday of November.
The original feast in 1621 was between September 21 and November 11 and lasted three days. Being that it was based on English harvest festivals that were regularly around the 29th of September.
During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. New York adopted it as an annual custom in 1817. Close to fifty years later in 1863, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a holiday that would occur on the last Thursday of every October from there on out. But then Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday of every November starting in 1939, then approved by Congress in 1941. That’s something I didn’t know. In fact I find it more interesting considering that the country was just coming out of the Great Depression at that point by two years. That would give the American citizens something to look forward to after what had occurred for so long. Giving reason to truly know what your thankful for.
Myth 3: The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.
Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown. But it does make you think of how the Amish got there idea for black and white clothing. Though some Ordnungs’ now are more lenient about color of attire.
Myth 4: The pilgrims brought furniture with them on the Mayflower.
The only furniture that the pilgrims brought on the Mayflower was chests and boxes. They constructed wooden furniture once they settled in Plymouth.
Myth 5: The Mayflower was headed for Virginia, but due to a navigational mistake it ended up in Cape Cod Massachusetts.
‘The Pilgrims were in fact planning to settle in Virginia, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They were part of the Virginia Company, which had the rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The pilgrims had intended to go to the Hudson River region in New York State, which would have been considered “Northern Virginia,” but they landed in Cape Cod instead. Treacherous seas prevented them from venturing further south.’ www.history.com