The American celebration of Thanksgiving can be traced to Virginia in 1619.
But it was the celebration in New England in the autumn of 1621 that established some of the precedents of our modern-day Thanksgiving.
Many myths, legends and romanticized versions of that first Thanksgiving have been passed along.
Here are a few facts: From the time of the landing in Plymouth in November 1620 until the following autumn, the original group of 102 Pilgrims had dwindled to less than half that many. At one point only five men were well enough to care for the sick. Nevertheless, they gave thanks.
The 1621 Plymouth, Massachusetts, thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest, which the Pilgrims celebrated with member of the Wampanoags, a confederation of Native American tribes. The Patuxet were a band of Native Americans from among the Wampanoags and they had helped the Pilgrims survive the previous winter by giving them food in that time of scarcity in exchange for an alliance and protection against the rival Narragansett tribe. After surviving a second treacherous winter, another day of Thanksgiving was declared and the neighboring tribes again sent their warriors with deer and turkey.
Legend has it that for this celebration of Thanksgiving, the first course—served on an empty plate in front of each person—consisted of five kernels of corn, a gentle reminder of God’s faithful provision for them.
Ever after, when a time of Thanksgiving was celebrated, the Pilgrims put five kernels of corn on each plate to remind themselves of their blessings:
🌽 The first kernel reminds us of the autumn beauty around us.
🌽 The second kernel reminds us of our love for each other.
🌽 The third kernel reminds us of God’s love and care for us.
🌽 The fourth kernel reminds us of our neighbors and friends.
🌽 The fifth kernel reminds us that we are a free people.
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