Pre-schoolers at Happy Days Child Development Center learned about Thanksgiving this week. They even got to help make their own Thanksgiving feast.
“They helped prepare (friendship stew and fruit salad) and brought items from home,” said Shelly Sumpter, a teacher in the 4-to-5 year old class. “We do it every year and have for the last 20 years that I know of.”
They even got to try some beef jerky to get a taste of what the first pilgrims would have eaten.
Kylie, a 5-year-old girl in the class, said she brought potatoes for the friendship stew.
“My favorite part was helping my grammy cut up the food,” Kylie said.
Four-year-old Hannah brought green beans.
“I brought green beans and my mommy’s going to have lunch with me,” Hannah said.
She also thought the beef jerky was “tasty.”
Traditionally, the first Thanksgiving is marked as the 1621 feast between Plymouth colonist and Wampanoag Indians, but their Thanksgiving feast barely resembles what we call Thanksgiving today.
Colonists were dependent on what they could grow or catch themselves and couldn’t simply drive down to the grocery store for a can of cranberry sauce. That first meal included venison, wild fowl, lobster and fish. More than likely, very few desserts were passed around.
Historians are not certain if cranberries were served at that first meal, but the berry is only one of three fruits that grow naturally in North America. The other two are blueberries and Concord grapes.
President Abraham Lincoln officially declared the last Thursday in November as the day of Thanksgiving in 1863. He was persuaded to do so by Sarah Hale, the author of “Mary had a Little Lamb.”
Congress decided the day needed to be a national holiday in 1941 and people officially began observing the day as a day away from work and school and at home with family.
One of the greatest Thanksgiving traditions began in 1934 when the first football game was broadcast.
Many traditions continue today and have changed over the years. While most families still carve a turkey for their dinner table, some have taken to fajita dinners or potlucks.