Do you know the true story of the first Thanksgiving? Most people think of Thanksgiving as a “feel good” holiday, but its history is mired in division and challenge. The very existence and endurance of this long standing tradition is proof positive that people can come together even in divided times.
As the story goes, a day of Thanksgiving was set aside in 1621, about a year after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts. After a successful harvest, the Pilgrims pledged thanks for a safe voyage and survival in a strange, new land. While they had experienced great loss, the Pilgrims had regained strength and learned to provide for themselves. The Wampanoag Indians joined the Pilgrims in their festival of celebration and gratitude. The time was filled with feasts, prayers, dances, shooting matches, wrestling, and other games. (more…)