Thanksgiving is an American holiday that is rooted in the foundation of our nation. That first Thanksgiving took place just a few miles from Jamestown. It was sometime in the late fall of 1621 when a group of Pilgrims gathered to celebrate their first harvest in this strange new land. These early colonists and their Native American friends joined together in a feast that would become a tradition centuries later.
It was the Native Americans who were largely responsible for teaching the early settlers how to farm and hunt, and thus survive, in the new world.
Our Thanksgiving today would likely be as strange to those Pilgrims as the new land in which they had settled.
Today, far-flung families gather together. People travel great distances to be with their loved ones for this holiday. The Pilgrims would have marveled at our jetliners and at the security precautions that one must suffer to board the planes. It took the Pilgrims several arduous months to make the hard voyage across the Atlantic – a trip that takes about eight hours by jet today.
Many of us today celebrate our Thanksgiving in homes that the Pilgrims would have considered to be castles. Their homes were thatched roof huts with dirt floors and smokey fireplaces. Our homes are filled with devices that would astound those early settlers. Our lives our simple and easy compared to the daily hardships faced by those early colonists.
The food that is served at our Thanksgiving feasts would hardly be recognized by those early settlers. Their fare would have consisted of wild game, not a store-bought turkey.
But no matter the vast differences between the first Thanksgiving and the one we will observe tomorrow, we will all still give thanks.
The staff at the Jamestown Press wishes all of our readers and advertisers a safe and enjoyable holiday.
— Jeff McDonough