When you think about the first Thanksgiving, what do you think of? Is it the Pilgrims making a big November feast to thank the Native Americans for helping them through their first winter by preparing them a huge feast of turkey and pumpkin pie?

How much of that is true? Not much as it turns out.

Myths About The First Thanksgiving

The settlers at the first Thanksgiving were called Pilgrims. The first settlers called themselves "Saints." The early Americans used the term "pilgrim" to all of the early colonists. It wasn't until much later that "pilgrim" was used only for the folks who landed on Plymouth Rock.

It took place in November. It was sometime in late September or the middle of October after the harvest had been gathered. In truth, by November, they would have been getting ready for winter and getting their houses ready for the wind and snow.

They ate turkey. They ate deer. Pilgrim Edward Winslow later wrote, "For three days we entertained and feasted and the Native Americans went out and killed five deer." He also mentioned that four Pilgrims went bird hunting but he didn't say what they hunted. So if they did eat turkey, it was a side dish.

The Pilgrims had a Thanksgiving feast every year. There is no evidence that the Pilgrims celebrated again in 1622. By all accounts, the harvest had been disappointing and there was another boatload of settlers that would have to be fed and housed through the winter.

The Pilgrims dressed in black and wore large hats with buckles on them. I know that this one wasn't true.19th-century artists painted them that way because they associated black clothing and buckles with being old-fashioned.

So most of the story of the first Thanksgiving is not true but a legend but as the saying goes, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

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