The First Thanksgiving

What really happened? for Gifted Ed Class 11-25-2013

What was the first Thanksgiving really like? Did they have turkey and cranberries and all the goodies we have today? After learning about it at, I know that it was a very different day than the one I enjoy.

First, I learned that the first Thanksgiving was a feast that lasted for about a week, not just one day! The pilgrims invited the Wampanoag Indians to the feast (which was held almost a year after they settled at Plimouth), and the Indians had to build their own shelters to stay in. You see, the Indians spent the week at the settlement with the Pilgrims. Luckily, the Wampanoag knew how to quickly set up a temporary witu! In addition, it took the Indians two days to walk all the way to the Pilgrim settlement, so the shelters were definitely necessary!

Next, I found out that they didn't even eat turkey! They probably had duck, since there were lots of waterfowl near the area where they settled. Also, cranberries and mashed potatoes weren't even invented yet! Other items they would have had at the feast might be: seafood, squash, corn, venison, and other vegetables. One Indian, named Squanto, helped the Pilgrims learn how to grow corn. He helped them with their first harvest, so he was probably seated at the high table where all the important people were seated. General Bradford and Massosquit, the Wampanoag leader, would have also been seated there.

Finally, in addition to eating lots of good food, the grownups and children probably had some fun together too! The kids probably played different games, like blind-man's-bluff, or put the circle on the peg. The adults probably shot at targets with their guns and bows and arrows to see who was the best shot.

At the end of the week, I'll bet the Indians and the Pilgrims could look back and say they had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's too bad we couldn't have kept that same kind of friendly relationship with the Indians. Instead, the settlers got greedy and stole from them, causing lots of hard feelings and many wars.

The Pilgrims landing in Plimoth.
Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn how to grow and harvest corn.

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