Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. (Canada celebrates it earlier.) Thanksgiving is one of Canada and the U.S.’ major holiday celebrations, characterized by copious amounts of food featuring seasonal recipes and lots of sweets. The traditional meat served at the feast is turkey.
The two-day holiday originates with the first permanent settlers to the New World, people who called themselves pilgrims fleeing England’s restrictive laws on religion and who arrived the northeast coast of America in between 1620 and 1621.
They faired poorly in the beginning until two local native Americans, Wampanoags of the Algonkian-speaking clans, both of whom spoke English (because one of them had previously traveled to England in 1605) befriended the settlers. The “Indians” taught the pilgrims how to farm and build homesteads, and the summer planting season was so successful that the pilgrims invited the Indians to a “Thanksgiving” harvest dinner in November, 1621.
Click here for much more information about the history and meaning of Thanksgiving by a native American school teacher, who dispels not only the myths about the “primitiveness” of native Americans, but also about the pilgrims’ history and beliefs.