The First Thanksgiving

Yeah, yeah, I know. The first Thanksgiving wasn’t a real thing. It’s a legend which encapsulates the gratitude felt by white settlers in a new land, particularly in an age where starting off and settling somewhere new was living off the land and surviving scores of diseases and natural threats. But Americans love nothing if not an origin story, cultural or religious, and so we get these depictions of ‘the First Thanksgiving’ in which people in Puritan garb share food with their Native American neighbours. Often there’s a white dude standing up and talking, because that’s what white dudes do.

There’s no evidence anything like a real ‘First Thanksgiving ‘ took place on the fourth Thursday in November — that’s just when, much later, Thanksgiving was enshrined into American secular religion. (Washing originally instituted the holiday; FDR changed the date to the fourth Thursday.) Which makes me think, whenever I see these depictions of Thanksgiving feasts — WHY PEOPLE ARE EATING OUTSIDE IN NOVEMBER. AREN’T THEY FREEZING?

Classic case. This is NOT November in Massachusetts.




This is looking a bit more chilly with pink-purple skies. But still, dining outside upon the hoarfrost, bringing our only infant who survived the winter without a blanket to cover her head…um??



White beardy guy: “The tribesmen tell me it is unseasonably warm in November: so this is where the term ‘Indian Summer’ came from. I and my colonising impulses are duly chastised.”



It’s so cold they’re not even bothering to sit down, just saying a big thank you outside then moving indoors where the chairs and fire are.



Screw this cold. Let’s get back on the ship. Better to die at sea than face winter in New England. #blizzard #puritanwoes #youregonnaneedmorecloaksthanthat



Tribal leader to colonial leader: ‘I’m sorry, you want us to eat outside in the freezing cold? In addition to teaching you to cultivate food in this land, can we introduce you to the longhouse, the wigwam and basically any other form of shelter in which to eat like civilized people?’



The last three renditions have been in black and white because there’s snow everywhere in late November in Massachusetts.

Snow. Everywhere.






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