Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Understanding The Holiday’s History:
The first Thanksgiving is a term given to the gathering between European settlers and Wampanoag people (Native Americans of the local area) in Autumn of 1621, where they shared a meal and gave thanks for a successful harvest. It is important to understand that giving thanks was a common practice by both the Natives/Indigenous people of America and European settlers in their own, separate and established cultural life, so when they gathered together, it was actually the first time they shared a thanksgiving meal as a symbolic gesture of friendship and gratitude. To learn more about the lesser known Natives’ harvest thanksgiving practice and celebration, read Nickommoh! A Thanksgiving Celebration by Jackie French Koller.
Pilgrim is a general term used to describe a settler from Plimoth (also spelled Plymouth). The term actually refers to a person who travels for religious reasons (goes on a pilgrimage). Settlers who came from Europe were considered colonists (those looking to expand the land and rule of the English crown); separatists (those who separated away from the Church of England and were looking for a new home where they could worship their beliefs without persecution) or puritans (those who had not separated from the Church of England but were looking to establish a purified version of their beliefs in a new land). Over time, all groups have been grouped together under the term pilgrim or settler.
It was customary for Europeans to hold days of prayer and a feast for giving thanks every Autumn during harvest time as part of their religious practice. When they arrived in Plimoth in 1620, it was already November so they didn’t have much time to settle and get ready for winter. That first winter was especially difficult and many of the settlers died. When the following Spring arrived, a Native American from the Wampanoag people named Samoset approached the settlers and offered his help. A few days later, he returned with his friend Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) who spoke better English. Together, they encouraged other Wampanoag people to help the remaining settlers prepare for life in their new homeland. Their efforts paid off. The next harvest season was very successful and the settlers managed to build enough houses to secure better conditions in order to survive the coming winter. As a way to thank their new friends for their help, the settlers invited the Natives to share a meal and celebrate a giving of thanks together. Both groups of people brought food items to the gathering. Today, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November to commemorate that first shared thanksgiving gathering.
Discuss facts about the First Thanksgiving, such as:
Imagine you are in Plymouth 1621 and came across a gathering between settlers and natives. They are trying to put together a Thanksgiving celebration but they seem confused and can’t quite remember how to do it. You offer to help by teaching them how to celebrate it.
The Giving of Thanks ~ teach a lesson on the importance of gratitude.
Writing: Turkey Plea
thanksgiving = Accion de Gracias