Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many of you thought that the first Thanksgiving in the U.S. Territories was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1612.  Actually the first Thanksgiving in the U.S. Territories was was celebrated by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles (founder of the city of St. Agustine, La Florida), in 1565, with a group of soldiers, colonists, Native Americans, and priests.  On September 8, official Thanksgiving was given.  A mass was celebrated and a feast followed.  This day can be considered as the first official Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. territory, says Dr. Michael Ganan, University of Florida.

After the Mass, offered as an act of thanksgiving by don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, what was eaten at the feast that followed, in what can be considered the first such celebration in U.S. territory?

Dr. Marian Horvat (“The Oldest City and the First Thanksgiving”) tells us that the feast was shared by the Spaniards and the Timucuan Indians who brought edibles such as venison, corn, beans, squash, oysters, clams, fruit, and, of course, plenty of turkeys.

Quail, hare, rabbit, chicken were probably also supplied by teh Timucuan Indians, who most certainly brought tortillas, frijoles corn, squash and legumes as well as fruits.

The Spaniards contributed cocido, a stew made with pork, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, and onions, along with biscuits, olive oil and red wine.  Surely, salted pork and cheese spread was also present.  Let us remember that Spaniards introduced into the newly discovered territories horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens.  Condiments were also brought over such as olive oil, cinnamon, parsley, corriander, oregano and black pepper, and also nuts and grains such as almonds, rice, wheat and barley. 

A mixture of European and American ingredients, the best of both worlds coincided on US soil at the first Thanksgiving dinner on September 8, 1565.  It wasn't until the year 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated what became the traditional date of the first Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  In all things give thanks to Him!


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