Thanksgiving Misconceptions


By Ian Kimbell

Ah, Thanksgiving. The day commemorating a very important day in our history, where people who only wore black and white, with buckles at every acceptable place, all took a seat and had a formal meal of turkey. This is pivotal, as the holiday celebrated the relationship between Pilgrims and Native Americans. However, that is wrong. Like many others, you may have been bamboozled by this Thanksgiving fairy tale, and your mindset about this holiday is clouded by incorrect, yet widely accepted views. Let’s get the real scoop. These are the most common Thanksgiving misconceptions.


On the first Thanksgiving, they gobble-gobbled on turkey and sweet potatoes.

Contrary to this fowl statement, many historians and aware citizens know that this was not the case. There is no recorded evidence of turkey as part of the meal, and it is likely that Pilgrims and Native Americans spent the evening eating ducks or geese. As for the sweet potatoes, those vegetables weren’t even grown in North America at the time. Other items on the actual menu probably consisted of venison, succotash, shellfish and corn.


The Pilgrims wore black, white and buckles all over.

Many educated folk probably know this is false, but I just wanted to make sure that there is nobody out there who still thinks this is true. Buckles weren’t fashionable until the late seventeenth century. Plus, buckles were extremely expensive, making them out of style and impractical. The Pilgrims used laces, which were cheaper and cooler, to hold their shoes together. With the black and white part of this, consider it the same as you only wearing black and white. It would have been ridonculous. The Pilgrims wore black and dark grey only on Sundays, and wore any other color that a natural dye can achieve on other days.


The Thanksgiving dinner was a formal event where Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down to a meal.

Unlike your Thanksgiving dinner will hopefully be, the pilgrims and Indians were very casual in the way they ate. There were around 90 Native Americans and 52 Pilgrims, making it impossible for the limited utensils and plates to supply them all. Instead, food was put on every flat surface, and was most likely eaten using hands whenever one was hungry during the three day festival. Also, the Native Americans didn’t stay the whole time. They just came and left whenever their hunger called for it.


The Native Americans were invited by the Pilgrims to Thanksgiving.

Although the Native Americans were probably not unwelcome to the festival, it is never recorded that they were actually invited. Through a document that William Bradford wrote about their great feast, it is implied that the Native Americans were just stopped by and left periodically. Historians agree that the games that the Pilgrims were playing involved shooting and loud noises. The Native Americans came to see what was going on, and ended up crashing the party. They did end up contributing five deer to the meal.


The Pilgrims and Native Americans’ feast was the first Thanksgiving

Although what we now know as Thanksgiving is completely different than what it was before the harvest festival that the pilgrims and Native Americans had, a holiday titled Thanksgiving was celebrated by many people in Europe, including the Pilgrims, before the Pilgrim potluck. The original Thanksgiving celebrated by Pilgrims was just a day set aside to give thanks to God. Thanksgivings were spread around the year and were celebrated willy-nilly whenever a group had something to be thankful for.



Well, I hope you learned something new today. This Thanksgiving, when you see a poster of a cartoon Pilgrim with buckles biting into a turkey, you can scoff at the mere notion. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.