Festivals with the spirit of giving thanks have been common in many cultures, so determining the original Thanksgiving celebration proves difficult. But tradition recognizes the 1621 feast between the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth Colony and neighboring American Indians as America’s first Thanksgiving.
Sailing from England aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims arrived in present-day Massachusetts in the fall of 1620, yet remained on the ship for several months. When the colonists moved ashore the following spring, they were visited by two English-speaking Indians, Samoset and Squanto, who showed the Pilgrims how to hunt and grow their own food. Squanto also served as an interpreter and mediator between the settlers and the neighboring Wampanoag tribe.
Sometime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 1, the Pilgrims organized a feast to celebrate the success of their first crop. Around 90 Wampanoag, including Chief Massasoit, joined the colonists for the festivities, which lasted for three days and included games, singing and dancing, in addition to the elaborate meal.
The Pilgrims’ records indicate that regional fowl, such as ducks, geese, swans and, yes, probably turkey, were served at the feast, along with venison brought by the Wampanoag. Historians believe that other foods present at the meal included fish and shellfish, beans, onions, porridge made from cornmeal, berries, squash and pumpkin—but no pumpkin pie.
AFTER you receive your Thanksgiving menu, we begin taking reservations for dinner. We have seatings at noon, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Dial ext. 2113.