November 22, 2006

The first Thanksgiving(s)

Let's Talk Food:  Give credit to Thanksgiving's organizers, although they're not who you thinkIn his book "The Cross in the Sand," Gannon writes that St. Augustine was the first community to celebrate Thanksgiving and the food served at this celebration had no resemblance to that served at the Pilgrim's feast. However, the 1565 celebration was not the first such occasion in Florida. The Spanish explorers held numerous thanksgiving Masses said for safe voyages and surviving the long and dangerous passage to the New World. In 1513, Ponce de Leon organized a celebration of thanks and another in 1521. Others who also gave thanks at a feast were Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528; Hernando de Soto in 1529, Tristan de Luna in 1559. Records indicate that a Catholic priest, Father Luis Cancer de Barbastro also led a thanksgiving Mass in 1549.

Needless to say Gannon is a pariah in New England. He has been described as the real grinch who stole, not Christmas, but Thanksgiving. However, Kathleen Curtin, a member of the Plymouth Plantation Society in Plymouth, Mass., has conceded that Gannon was probably correct in crediting the Spanish for the first Thanksgiving celebrated by Europeans on American soil. All concerned agreed that celebrating with thanks has been celebrated by mankind since food was first harvested. In America, the native Indians had such celebrations for centuries as did other cultures throughout the world.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Texas Held the First Thanksgiving?

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