The Truth of Thanksgiving

giving thanks should not be shut up in a single day

While most Americans sort of believe the picturesque story of a convivial feast between the 51 or so surviving Pilgrims and around 90 Native Americans, perhaps from the Wampanoag Nation, the truth is far more complicated and perhaps a good deal murkier.

The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.  ~  Wamsutta Frank James, Wampanoag activist

Today, especially today, we can understand that within months of the disease ravaged Pilgrims winter 1620 arrival in North America, the native population was decimated by European illnesses.  In addition there is strong evidence that the Puritans set the pattern for white settlers in America by seizing Native Lands, killing and enslaving the indigenous populations.  Perhaps you could check out the Pequot Massacre of 1637.

As it goes, if there was ever a Thanksgiving Feast at all there is no evidence that the Wampanoags were there, or were even invited.

Being very religious people, it is more likely that the Pilgrims were celebrating a delayed Michaelmas, a harvest festival honouring the archangel Michael, who is a symbol of good triumphing over evil.  Back then Michaelmas Day was October 10th.  It gets more complex than that because in the protracted switch from the Juilan to Gregorian calendar from 10 to 18 days were removed from the year.  That happened in 1752 in the USA.  So, only God, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Sarah Josepha Hale, and the Wampanoag peoples know when Thanksgiving happened, if it’s not just a popular myth or a political invention.

Personally I believe that any feast, festival, or religious observance at this time of year is directly related to the autumn equinox, when our ancient ancestors would bemoan / celebrate that the day and night were of exactly equal length.  From then on the days would get shorter, the nights longer, the weather colder, and winter would soon come howling in.

At least our English festival at this time of year, Guy Fawkes Night, is based on hard historical fact.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.


jack collier

Stonehenge is just a calendar


8 responses

  1. American history is written by the Europeans who came to this land and claimed it. You have to look at the indigenous people who lived on the land for the real history. They can tell the tale of genocide. It’s not unlike many places that were pirated and taken over.
    I do believe you about the holidays being more related to events such as harvest, lunar , etc.
    Thank You for enlightening me on Gunpowder Treason Day aka Guy Fawkes Night


  2. Yea. Sadly very true. A bad beginning indeed.

    But I still enjoy the sentiment behind the holiday, even if it’s a false narrative of the gruesome truth.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We are not responsible for the sins of our forefathers.
      I truly hope you had a great Thanksgiving. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m honestly not sure that is true. Even if not legally on some karmic level we may be. Don’t know.

        It’s strange being first generation American. I was born here. I learned all the history. I only know really American traditions and customs. But I sometimes feel like I don’t belong here as well even unwelcome sometimes. In the only country I’ve ever known. It’s a strange feeling to have. The sense one doesn’t belong the only place one has ever been. 🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m used to that feeling, and I am a born and bred Englishman ~ white, anglo-saxon, indeterminate religion. It just means that we are different from most folks. Anyhow, I’ve always liked you.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks❣️

            I’ve always liked you too🥰

            Liked by 2 people

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