Do you know what happened at the first Thanksgiving? You might have a pretty good idea but the fact is that we just dont have too many historical accounts of how the day took place and all that happened. But, we do have some tidbits of information that allow us to piece the day together fairly well.
The year was 1621 and the Pilgrims were living in the New World. They had experienced some tough days and beginning a new life in a new land was difficult. Many individuals died and others were hungry and scared. However, the Pilgrims found a way to survive in the new land. Once they had established themselves, made friends with the Indians, and had a successful harvest they decided it was time to give thanks for all of Gods blessings. But, it is believed now that the Pilgrims didnt approach Thanksgiving so much as a religious holiday but more of a festive one that was based around Englands Fall Harvest.
Regardless of whether it was religious or not the pilgrims took a day off to enjoy their plentiful harvest, to relax, have fun, and share some of their success with the Indians. Keep in mind the adjustment the Pilgrims had to make to the new land, weather, and lifestyle in the colony was not easy. So, by the time a successful harvest had been achieved and some tough days lived through the pilgrims were ready to rejoice.
They cooked venison and fowl and probably even eel, lobster, cod, or other types of seafood that would have been available. It is unlikely the Pilgrims actually ate a turkey on that first Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins more than likely made an appearance in different dishes although corn and mashed potatoes probably did not. The Indian corn was almost always dry by that time of year and potatoes didnt grow in that area. Cranberries are thought to have held a place in some dishes, but probably not like in the sauce we are accustomed to buying in a can! Other vegetables and fruits surely were served. Of al the accounts of Thanksgiving historians have read the only two definitive foods served were fowl and venison.
The day was also enjoyed by playing sports, talking with friends, and simply giving thanks for the bountiful harvest. The Indians also took part in this day with the Pilgrims and may have helped with some of the preparations or even helped kill some of the meat for dinner. The one thing that is known is the first ever Thanksgiving was a day of happiness and rejoicing for the Pilgrims.