Generally when we think about Thanksgiving, we think of being together with family, filling up on traditional foods and counting the blessings in our lives.
All of those are certainly part of our nations identity when describing the biggest Fall holiday of the year, but many commonly believed traditions on Thanksgiving are more myth than fact.
Here are 10 myths about Thanksgiving:
1. It Wasn’t The Pilgrims Who Held The First Thanksgiving
Nearly 23 years before a Thanksgiving feast was celebrated among the pilgrims, the very first Thanksgiving happened in Texas back in 1598. In little San Elizario, a community near El Paso, Spanish Explorer Juan De Onate held the first Thanksgiving celebration after leading hundreds of settlers on a grueling 350-mile long trek across the Mexican desert.
2. Thanksgiving Wasn’t About Family
Yes, you read that correctly. Thanksgiving was never about Pilgrims indulging food amongst other Pilgrims, it was more of a multicultural community celebration. It was a holiday where the Pilgrims invited the Indians to join them in giving thanks and feasting together.
3. Thanksgiving Wasn’t About Religion
Again, if Thanksgiving was about religion, we never would have seen the Pilgrims and Indians come together on this joyous holiday. Plus, the Pilgrims would have never combined a true religious event with any of their festivities.
4. The Pilgrims Didn’t Eat Turkey
They also didn’t eat green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce. No, the Pilgrims actually ate deer. So where did we come up with gobbling up turkey on Thanksgiving? Thank the Victorians for that one since that’s the way they prepared the festive holiday meal.
5. The Pilgrims Didn’t Land On Plymouth Rock
Believe it or not, Plymouth Rock was just a bunch on nonsense. As a publicity stunt by the townspeople to attract visitors, the story of Plymouth Rock is sadly just a myth. So where did the Pilgrims actually first land? The correct answer: Provincetown.
6. The Pilgrims Didn’t Live In Log Cabins
As nice as that would have been, log cabins weren’t a thing until the Germans and Swedes made them in the late seventeenth century. Instead, the Pilgrims lived in wood clapboard houses, which were made from sawed lumber.
7. The Pilgrims Didn’t Dress In Black
You know the typical pilgrim attire that we learned about in elementary school? Black clothing, funny buckles, silly shoes and steeple hats. Well we were kinda lied to. Pilgrims wore tons of bright colors and their hats didn’t feature giant buckles on them. Disappointing indeed.
8. Pilgrims and Puritans Were Not The Same
The pilgrims and puritans were actually two different groups of people. The pilgrims were the ones who came over on the Mayflower and made their home in Plymouth, while the puritans came a decade later and settled in Boston.
9. Thanksgiving Wasn’t Always On The Fourth Thursday Of November
Dating back to 1621, the original Thanksgiving occurred sometime between September 21st and November 11th and lasted for three days. It wasn’t until 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office and it was officially announced that Thanksgiving would fall on the forth Thursday of November.
10. The Mayflower Was Not Headed For Virginia
The Pilgrims had the plan of settling in Virgina, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They had the intention of sailing up the Hudson River in New York State, which back then would have been considered “Northern Virginia,” but because of harsh sailing conditions, they settled in Cape Cod.