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.
Stonehenge is just a calendar