In keeping with what I did for the week approaching Halloween, I thought I’d talk about some of the aspects of gardening and harvest that have to do with Thanksgiving–since some of the first Thanksgivings were primarily celebrations of the harvest, at least if we recall our history.
Grammar school taught us that the “pilgrims” and the “indians” got together that first Thanksgiving to celebrate the harvest. Current historical research indicates that not only were the colonists at the Massachusetts Bay Colony probably not the first to celebrate Thanksgiving, but that it was also a partially religious feast as well–remember, those colonists came here to celebrate their religion as much as anything else!
Nevertheless, this rendition of Thanksgiving from History.com is probably the closest re-telling of the Thanksgiving story to the one I remember from school–the one about the colonists almost starving to death and then finally getting a good harvest and the “Indians” bringing corn to share with them and the feast lasting for 3 days.
To me it tells of rare cooperation between the settlers and the native people–as well know, it didn’t go well for the Native Americans for much longer after that. So for that reason alone, I like this version of the Thanksgiving tale, sanitized, white-washed and fictionalized as it may be.
In fact this story is probably as fictionalized as the Norman Rockwell type Thanksgivings we see in the commercials and magazines. After all, our own families rarely approach that sort of ideal. But I’m not sure that’s what the holiday is all about either.
And even though my own harvest wasn’t fabulous this year, there is still much to be grateful for. To me, that is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.