November 26, 2008

Texas held the first Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving:  Texas tradition

By Dr. Tommy StringerThe first observance of Thanksgiving ... may have occurred in Texas, long before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. In 1539 the Spanish explorer Coronado left Mexico with an expedition of 1,500 men in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. After extensively searching in what is today Arizona and New Mexico, he turned northeast, following new information he had received that the cities were in what is today Kansas. His new trek took him across the great plains of Texas, a region marked by rolling grass lands that seemed to be never ending. After weeks of monotonous travel, provisions were running low and frustrations were running high when Coronado and his men arrived at Palo Duro Canyon near present-day Amarillo. This giant gorge was more than 1,000 feet deep in places with running water on its floor. The expedition also encountered a tribe of friendly Indians who were more than willing to share their food with the weary Spaniards. To celebrate his good fortune, which he attributed to Divine Providence, Coronado ordered his men to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. A traditional Catholic service was conducted by a priest, Juan de Padilla, who was part of the expedition. An entry in Coronado’s journal noted the event was held on May 29, 1541, which would put the Coronado thanksgiving celebration in Texas almost 80 years ahead of the Pilgrims’ feast in Massachusetts.

No comments: