Contact Us

5 Busted Myths About the Pilgrims — They Ate Venison Not Turkey, and More

Pilgrims and Indians
iStock

Thanksgiving is on record as being America’s second-favorite holiday (Christmas wins first prize, of course), so it makes sense that Thanksgiving lore is a part of our shared cultural history and something we start learning early in our lives. But it turns out a lot of what we think we know about Turkey Day is wrong.

The Thanksgiving story everyone grows up with, involving Pilgrims and Indians, is a nice example of sharing and giving thanks, but it really has nothing to do with what actually happened. Here are five things we think we know about our national day of turkey and stuffing, but are actually not right at all:

The Pilgrims Were the First to Feast

There are stories of a large feast held by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 that have been passed down through the years. We know this feast happened and this is what we all consider to be the First Thanksgiving. But this wasn’t actually the first feast of this kind. For example, 23 years before the 1621 feast, a Spanish explorer held a large feast in Texas as thanks and celebration for the safe passage of a party of settlers after a long journey across the Mexican desert. Furthermore, in 1619 a group of settlers from England held a Thanksgiving celebration feast after safely arriving in America on a ship called the Margaret.

The Pilgrim Meal Was Thanksgiving

As we pass down the story of the Pilgrim’s 1621 feast, we call it Thanksgiving, but in reality the feast was a harvest festival (actually celebrated in late September or early October) to celebrate a good harvest. Native Americans joined the feast (either by invitation, or because they heard celebratory shooting and came over to investigate) because they had helped teach the Pilgrims how to grow and find food in their new world. The Pilgrims also celebrated Thanksgiving, but this was generally a religious observation and happened at different times throughout the year. To them, Thanksgiving was a time of prayer and reflection (to which Native Americans would not have been invited) and not a time for games and feasting.

The Pilgrim Feast Started a Tradition

As the story goes, the Pilgrims sat down with the neighboring Indians for Thanksgiving dinner in 1621 and then every year thereafter to commemorate that first meal together. This was not actually the case. Not only did they not sit down for dinner—the food was laid out on a table, but there weren’t enough place settings and silverware to accommodate everyone so it was finger food and standing room only)—they didn’t repeat it every year as a tradition. The real tradition didn’t get organized nationally until Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. It took much longer for our country to finally agree to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.

The Pilgrims Ate Turkey and Pumpkin Pie

We don’t know everything that was on the menu during the Pilgrims’ 1621 feast, but we do know that the main meat dish was probably venison and not turkey. There was a fowl of some kind served, but there is no evidence that the feast was centered around the bird that goes gobble-gobble. Sweet potatoes were not at all a food of the people of that time and pumpkins were eaten, but they weren’t made into pies. It’s not likely cranberries were involved either.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal we think of now was created by a writer named Sarah Josepha Hale, who was the editor of a magazine and the woman instrumental in convincing President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving an official, national holiday. She’s the one who wrote stories of a traditional Thanksgiving meal with the delicious foods we think of now, in order to get everyone on board with her pet holiday.

The Pilgrims Wore Black Clothes With Buckles to the Feast

By this time, it should come as no surprise to you that the pictures of the Pilgrims we share in our collective imagination are completely inaccurate. In 1621 Pilgrims wore black and white as formal wear, likely to church, but since that early feast was a harvest celebration and not a religious affair, they would have worn their casual, colorful clothes. Both women and men generally wore brightly colored fabrics that could be dyed naturally. And buckles weren’t involved at all.

In the 19th century, when artists began depicting those first settlers, they drew buckles on their clothes as a way of expressing quaintness. But buckles didn’t become fashionable until well after the 1621 feast. Besides, while they may have started to become en vogue in England late in the 17th century, the Pilgrims would not have been able to afford metal buckles, which would have been a luxury (and difficult to get in the new world.) Also, the Native American guests would not have been wearing loincloths at the feast. Fall in New England is a chilly time and the savvy native residents of the land would have been dressed appropriately for the weather.

 

Photo by Aaron Savage
Photo by Aaron Savage
[

Central Texas Gets the X Games For Second Straight Year

Austin is a good fit for many things, including live music, burritos, and flip flops.  Now it's becoming known as a great place to host the X Games, and ESPN has announced the dates that Austin will host next summer.

Read More|Comment

Getty Images
Getty Images
[

Johnny Manziel Gets His first NFL Start This Weekend

Johnny Manziel is an East Texas boy, born December 6th 1992 in Tyler.  And then of course he had the great high school football career in the Hill Country at Kerrville Tivy High, and then came back to East Texas to get everybody's attention as the Texas A&M QB and win the Heisman.  Think he'll be an NFL star?

Read More|Comment

McDonalds
[

McDonalds Is Changing The Way It Does Burgers

Good news for you, if you've ever wanted to pick and choose what you want on your burger at McDonalds.  There's a new build-your-own-sandwich machine coming next year to 2000 McDonalds stores across the US.  

Read More|Comment

police-lights
[

Bad Accident Seriously Injures 5 Aggies

On the way to Houston, have you used State Highway 105?  It goes through Montgomery County and runs just west of Conroe.  After a bad accident that injured 5 Texas A&M students Sunday night, there's a renewed call to widen the road.

Read More|Comment

Getty Images
Getty Images
[

New Orleans Court Stops Texas Execution

A Texas inmate received a last minute stay of execution Wednesday, and his lawyers say he's suffering from mental illnesses.  It's a case that's been closely watched by the national media, and has given fuel to the conversation about whether someone that's mentally ill should be executed for their crimes.

Read More|Comment

Grand Jury Decision Reached In Ferguson Shooting Case
Cristina Fletes-Boutte-Pool/Getty Images
[

Darren Wilson Not Indicted for Michael Brown Shooting [UPDATED]

A grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown this past August.

Read More|Comment

Category: AC, Country, Hot AC, News, Rhythmic, Rock Tags:
police-lights
[

Lock Your Doors – Vehicle Break-Ins Are On The Rise

Vehicle thefts are a problem all year long, but especially during the holiday season when there are shopping bags and electronics sitting in plain sight.

Here's some special incentive to lock your doors and hide your valuables in Lufkin.

Read More|Comment

Category: East Texas News, News Tags: ,
Lionsgate
Lionsgate
[

Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ Makes All of the Money and It’s Still Not Enough

There‘s going to be a lot of blood and ink spilled across the internet on the subject of the opening weekend for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.’ Yes, the third film in the series did open significantly lower than its predecessors. Yes, there are definitely people at Lionsgate wringing their hands and trying to figure out why the film opened below expectations. And yet, that opening weekend is still massive. It’s three day total is larger than most movies ever have a chance to make in their entire runs. So, let's have some perspective as we dive into this week’s top 10.

Read More|Comment

Category: News
Jurassic World poster
Universal
[

‘Jurassic World’ Teaser Promises to Deliver Our First Trailer on Thanksgiving Day

A few days ago, the YouTube page for Universal Spain posted memorable footage of the cup of water vibrating from ‘Jurassic Park’ as a teaser for ‘Jurassic World,’ which seemed pretty curious. But today brings our first official footage from ‘Jurassic World’ in the form of a far more awesome teaser for the trailer, which will hit the web on Thanksgiving day. If that’s not something to be thankful for, what is?

Read More|Comment

Category: News
Lammily Doll
Nickolay Lamm, YouTube
[

‘Realistic’ Barbie Doll Could Be This Holiday Season’s (Not-So) Surprise Sensation

The latest shot in the battle to make people accept and love their bodies has been fired by a doll that could very well turn the toy industry on its ear.

Read More|Comment

Category: National News, News

Best of the Web

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ksfa860.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!