Tag Archive | thanksgiving traditions

Thanksgiving Myths and FACTS

"Thanksgiving Myths and FACTS"Mayflower Myths

The reason that we have so many myths associated with Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It doesn’t originate in any one event. It is based on the New England puritan Thanksgiving, which is a religious Thanksgiving, and the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England and maybe other ideas like commemorating the pilgrims. All of these have been gathered together and transformed into something different from the original parts.


The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter.


The first feast wasn’t repeated, so it wasn’t the beginning of a tradition. In fact, the colonists didn’t even call the day Thanksgiving. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific event, such as the winning of a battle. On such a religious day, the types of recreational activities that the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians participated in during the 1621 harvest feast–dancing, singing secular songs, playing games–wouldn’t have been allowed. The feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the pilgrims minds.


The original Thanksgiving feast took place on the fourth Thursday of November.


The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. After that first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest.

During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which he may have correlated it with the November 21, 1621, anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. Since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).


The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.


Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.


The pilgrims brought furniture with them on the Mayflower.


The only furniture that the pilgrims brought on the Mayflower was chests and boxes. They constructed wooden furniture once they settled in Plymouth.


The Mayflower was headed for Virginia, but due to a navigational mistake it ended up in Cape Cod Massachusetts.


The Pilgrims were in fact planning to settle in Virginia, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They were part of the Virginia Company, which had the rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The pilgrims had intended to go to the Hudson River region in New York State, which would have been considered “Northern Virginia,” but they landed in Cape Cod instead. Treacherous seas prevented them from venturing further south.

(adapted from the History Channel)

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Giving Thanks Around the world

"Give thanks around the wordl"Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest withTthanksgiving ceremonies.

Before the establishment of formal religions many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits.

Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Their goddess of corn (actually all grains) was Demeter who was honored at the festival of Thesmosphoria held each autumn.

On the first day of the festival married women (possibility connecting childbearing and the raising of crops) would build leafy shelters and furnish them with couches made with plants. On the second day they fasted. On the third day a feast was held and offerings to the goddess Demeter were made – gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit, and pigs. It was hoped that Demeter’s gratitude would grant them a good harvest.

The Romans

The Romans also celebrated a harvest festival called Cerelia, which honored Ceres their goddess of corn (from which the word cereal comes). The festival was held each year on October 4th and offerings of the first fruits of the harvest and pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration included music, parades, games and sports and a thanksgiving feast.

The Chinese

The ancient Chinese celebrated their harvest festival, Chung Ch’ui, with the full moon that fell on the 15th day of the 8th month. This day was considered the birthday of the moon and special “moon cakes”, round and yellow like the moon, would be baked. Each cake was stamped with the picture of a rabbit – as it was a rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese saw on the face of the moon.

The families ate a thanksgiving meal and feasted on roasted pig, harvested fruits and the “moon cakes”. It was believed that during the 3 day festival flowers would fall from the moon and those who saw them would be rewarded with good fortune.

According to legend Chung Ch’ui also gave thanks for another special occasion. China had been conquered by enemy armies who took control of the Chinese homes and food. The Chinese found themselves homeless and with no food. Many staved. In order to free themselves they decided to attack the invaders.

The women baked special moon cakes which were distributed to every family. In each cake was a secret message which contained the time for the attack. When the time came the invaders were surprised and easily defeated. Every year moon cakes are eaten in memory of this victory.

The Hebrews

Jewish families also celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkoth. Taking place each autumn, Sukkoth has been celebrated for over 3000 years.

Sukkoth is know by 2 names – Hag ha Succot – the Feast of the Tabernacles and Hag ha Asif – the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkoth begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, 5 days after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year.

Sukkoth is named for the huts (succots) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. These huts were made of branches and were easy to assemble, take apart, and carry as the Israelites wandered through the desert.

When celebrating Sukkoth, which lasts for 8 days, the Jewish people build small huts of branches which recall the tabernacles of their ancestors. These huts are constructed as temporary shelters, as the branches are not driven into the ground and the roof is covered with foliage which is spaced to let the light in. Inside the huts are hung fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates. On the first 2 nights of Sukkoth the families eat their meals in the huts under the evening sky.

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians celebrated their harvest festival in honor of Min, their god of vegetation and fertility. The festival was held in the springtime, the Egyptian’s harvest season.

The festival of Min featured a parade in which the Pharaoh took part. After the parade a great feast was held. Music, dancing, and sports were also part of the celebration.

When the Egyptian farmers harvested their corn, they wept and pretended to be grief-stricken. This was to deceive the spirit which they believed lived in the corn. They feared the spirit would become angry when the farmers cut down the corn where it lived.


Thanksgiving Fun for the Family

This is one of my favorites and I am going to use this one of these days…. It is an old tradition that is delightful and inspiring. As you read it picture yourself around a table at the first thanksgiving. What would you be thankful for back then?

This old storytelling game has been around forever, but it just might do the trick when the kids have cleaned their plates and are ready to fly out the door again. Just ask: “Did everybody use a fork?”  They’ll all nod.

“Good. If you just used a fork, then you owe the cook a magic memory. I will now unveil The Talking Fork.”  Puzzled looks will follow.  “I cooked this meal. And before we all leave, I want to hear some good, fun, magic family memories. Here’s the Talking Fork. I’ll go first.” Then pick up a fork around which you’ve tied a ribbon — a nice, big serving fork is good for dramatic effect — and begin.  Source: Family Education.com


Another fun activity for family members of all ages is the Happy Pumpkins.  You will need one miniature pumpkin per guest and several “magic markers.”

Ask each guest to decorate their pumpkin to reflect their mood, personality or creative nature.  Use these as a centerpiece for the desert table.

And here’s another Thanksgiving activity that is sure to bring a smile to your guests faces:

Picture Perfect Thanksgiving https://tulipstalk.com/picture-perfect-thanksgiving/

There’s still time to order  flowers for  your Thanksgiving  table from Eden Florist. Visit our Website www.EDENFLORIST.com or call 800-966-3336 (EDEN) today!

What do You do on Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Thanksgiving, a time of family, laughter, gratitude and joy.

Thanksgiving is and always has been my favorite holiday. It is so unpretentious. No worrying about if you got the right gift for Uncle Mike or Aunt Martha.  You don’t have to spend hours or even days decorating the house. Everything on thanksgiving revolves around sharing and caring and the dinner table.

In fact, I spend more time planning the activities for Thanksgiving than I do for most vacations.

Every year when I host Thanksgiving dinner I  like to incorporate some sort of “activity” into the meal.  Over the next few days I am going to share a few of the activities we have done in our home and also some that my customers and readers have shared with me. I will also link to some of the ones we have posted over the years. If you have a special activity or tradition you’d like to share, feel free to leave it in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you.

If you prefer, you can send your idea to heidi @ edenflorist.com with “Thanksgiving Traditions” in the subject line.

Here’s one that was sent to me by Kimberly Glenn:

The Thanksgiving Tree


A few years ago, I sent out a note a few weeks before Thanksgiving asking that each person send me a list of things they appreciated about other members of our extended family.  (We have 50-75 people for Thanksgiving!) I printed them on construction paper leaves and made a Thanksgiving tree that was displayed at the front of our large room.  It was such a blessing to read all of the nice things about others as well as myself.  I made sure that every member of the family had at least 3-4 leaves describing why people were thankful for them.  There were many laughs and tears as we remembered why we love each other so much!

And here’s a couple of Thanksgiving posts from last year that you may find of interest:

Giving Thanks Around the world https://tulipstalk.com/giving-thanks-around-the-world/

Scrolls of Thanks https://tulipstalk.com/scroll-down-for-thanksgiving-activity/

Thers’s still time to order  flowers for  your Thanksgiving  table from Eden Florist. Visit our Website www.EDENFLORIST.com or call 800-966-3336 (EDEN) today!

I am Thankful for You Because


This year for Thanksgiving I am doing something just a little different. I got these great little blue overall party favors from Lillian Verson company and am personalizing them for all our guests.

These will serve as the placecard for everyone on Thanksgiving Day.

In addition to being pretty placecards, they will hold notes from each of the guests.

I have designed a note card for everyone with everyone’s name on it. Each guest will get a complete set of names in an envelope with a pen. On the top of each card is a pretty turkey and pumpkin clip art and each card says:

Dear (fill in the guest’s name)
I am thankful for you because: (and the guest fills this out and puts in each person’s overall).

During desert we will ask everyone to read one or two from their favor and they can take the rest home.

You can get great Thanksgiving clip-art here: http://www.christmas-graphics-plus.com/free/thanksgiving-clipart-gallery.html
This is one of my all-time favorites and because my family likes it so much, we do it every year!

Thanksgiving Activities that Rock!

If you have children in the house, be sure and download the Thanksgiving Coloring Book for their entertainment. You can find it here:

Thank you for your love and support of Eden Florist. May your Thanksgiving be all you hope for … and then some!

Giving Thanks is in the Writing

The Thanksgiving Table Cloth

My mom has purchased a plastic Thanksgiving table cloth that we use to write with a permanent marker what we’re thankful for each year with our signature and the year. She has it out on the table and then we can look back and see what our family/friends wrote and have memories of spending time with different people on Thanksgiving.  (Contributed by Brittany)

This is one of my all-time favorites and because my family likes it so much, we do it every year!

The Thanksgiving Box

There’s still time to order flowers for your Thanksgiving table from Eden Florist. Visit our Website www.EDENFLORIST.com or call 800-966-3336 (EDEN) today!