1. The settlers at the first Thanksgiving were called Pilgrims
Early Americans applied the term “pilgrim” to all of the early colonists; it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was used exclusively to describe the folks who landed on Plymouth Rock.
2.It was a solemn, religious occasion
It was a three-day harvest festival that included drinking, gambling, athletic games, and even target shooting with English muskets.
3. It took place in November
It was some time between late September and the middle of October—after the harvest had been brought in.
4.The Pilgrims came to American for religious freedom
Instead, they came to the states for money and opportunity, per the Times.
5. They ate turkey
The Pilgrims ate deer, not turkey.
6. They ate pumpkin pie for dessert
In those days, the Pilgrims boiled their pumpkin and ate it plain. Other foods that may have been on the menu: cod, bass, clams, oysters, Indian corn, native berries, plums, and beer made from corn.
7. The Pilgrims held a similar feast every year
There’s no evidence the Pilgrims celebrated again in 1622. They probably weren’t in the mood—the harvest had been disappointing.
8. The first Thanksgiving was in Plymouth, Massachussettes
Technically, the first European Thanksgiving in North America was held in Newfoundland in 1587. Plymouth colonists, however, were the first group of Europeans to host repeat Thanksgivings.
9. Native Americans were invited to Thanksgiving
In fact, the Native Americans had their own Thanksgiving celebrations and, according to the New York Times, it’s unclear if the Native Americans received a formal invitation to the European celebration in the first place.
10. Americans have always celebrated Thanksgiving
Although Thanksgiving was celebrated on and off throughout the years, it wasn’t made an annual holiday until 1863. It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t until Franklin D. Roosevelt became president that Thanksgiving became a federal holiday.