Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving History - Myths & Facts




They spent two months at sea to reach a strange new world, and barely survived once they got there. Learn how the Pilgrims reached America and lived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.


Full text of the October 3, 1863 decree that finally made Thanksgiving an official U.S. holiday.

Tradition has it that "Black Friday," the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States. Retail insiders say that is probably not the case.

The first Monday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as "Cyber Monday" because it is supposedly the biggest online shopping day of the year. The actual statistics don't back that up.

Theoretically it could, says About.com's Chemistry Guide Anne Marie Helmenstine, but the true lethargy inducer in any Thanksgiving dinner is more likely to be the carbohydrate count.

What historians really know about the 1621 harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachussetts and how it evolved into the Thanksgiving holiday we know today.

It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, in his 1939 Thanksgiving Proclamation, gave the annual holiday its current date: the second-to-last Thursday in November. About's 20th Century History Guide Jennifer Rosenberg explains why he ordered the change.

Esaúl Sánchez and folklorist Roger D. Abrahams discuss "the ubiquitious, universal, populist turkey and Thanksgiving."

"Travel back to Plymouth and hear from some pilgrims to find out what the original celebration was actually like!" -- From the History Channel.

Does the suicide rate in the United States increase over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? Experts say no. Here are the facts behind the urban legend.

The real story behind the legendary landing spot of the Mayflower in 1620.

Netlore Archive: For a Thanksgiving laugh, mom stuffs a roast turkey with a cornish game hen as a practical joke on her naive daughter.

Why do U.S. presidents feel compelled to issue an official pardon to a turkey each year before Thanksgiving? Did the "tradition" really start with Harry Truman? Or was it Abe Lincoln?

Anthropologist Dr. Sidney Mintz discusses holiday customs, food, gender roles, and commercialization.

By historian Timothy Walch, director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.

"If by Thanksgiving, you have in mind the Pilgrim festival, forget about it being a family holiday. Put away your Norman Rockwell paintings. Turn off Bing Crosby. Thanksgiving was a multicultural community event. If it had been about family, the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them."

It's 1627 all the time at Plimoth Plantation, the living history attraction in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that recreates the life of the Pilgrims and their Native neighbors. Take a virtual tour with About's New England for Visitors Guide, Kim Knox Beckius.

Detailed history of the Native American tribe without whose assistance the Pilgrims would have had little to be thankful for.

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