Pilgrim Thanksgiving

Mayflower Thanksgiving 400th 

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Thanksgiving celebration between 52 Mayflower Pilgrims and 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe. 

The best documentation we have of this Thanksgiving comes from a 1621 letter that Edward Winslow wrote to a friend in England. 

Edward Winslow’s Letter

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, (Massasoyt) with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Giving thanks was a shared value between the two groups. Native tribes held celebrations to the Creator and the Pilgrims held days of thanks to Christ the Lord.

This Thanksgiving came after significant losses. There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower but almost half of them died in that first winter. Squanto taught them how to plant crops, which enabled them to survive. Their alliance of mutual defense lasted 50 years.

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