Since that time to stuff our faces and take naps after filling our bellies; I thought you may find it interesting to see how traditions are for other people. I added some unusual facts in this too, for your information.
The Pilgrims may not have eaten turkey… but they definitely ate a ton of shrimp and deer. At the first Thanksgiving — 1621 in Plymouth — there’s no hard evidence that anyone ate any turkey.
Thanksgiving wasn’t an official public holiday until Lincoln. This is pretty incredible, and I had absolutely no idea. Thanksgiving wasn’t an official public holiday until Lincoln took a break from, ya know, Civil War to make it one in 1863.
historical evidence doesn’t make any reference to cranberry sauce until 1663
The Ancient Greeks held an autumn festival for three days known as Thesmosphoria. It was celebrated to honor the Goddess Demeter, the deity of food grains. The festival was also related to fertility. Fertile married women would build a home for the Goddess to stay in the first day and equipped it with all the comforts of Ancient Greek society. These fertile women purified their souls and body by keeping a fast on the second day in her honor and then on the third day prepared a great feast. Since Thesmosphoria came around harvest season, the specialties of the table included first fruits of the season, plump pigs, seed corn delicacies and yummy cakes.
In Rome Cerelia was celebrated on October 4thannually to honor Ceres, the Goddess of Corn. Offering made to Cerelia included the first fruits of the harvest and pigs. Other highlights of Cerelia were a grand feast music, parades, games and sports.
The Chinese festival that resembles the US version of Thanksgiving Day is known as Chung Ch’ui. Chung Ch’ui is a three-day harvest festival celebrated on the full moon day of the 8th Chinese month and was believed by the Chinese to be the birthday of the moon. The specialty of the festival is its round and yellow ‘moon cakes’ with an image of rabbit on them. The Chung Ch’ui feast featured roasted pigs and first fruits of the harvest. A Chinese legend has that anyone who sees flowers falling from the moon on this day is blessed with a good fortune.
The Jewish harvest festival is known as ‘Sukkoth’. For more than 3000 years, the autumn festival also known by the names of ‘Hag ha Succot’ or ‘The Feast of the Tabernacles’ and ‘Hag ha Asif’ or ‘The Feast of Ingathering.’ This eight-day long festival is to remind the people of the hardships and sufferings of Moses and the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert for forty years. Succots were actually the makeshift huts or tents built of branches symbolizing the tabernacles of their ancestors. They were used to hang fruits from the roof of these huts such as apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates.
How Turkeys Hear!
I know that you have been dying to learn how a turkey hears as this will be essential in bagging one in the wild for your Thanksgiving dinner. Although they do not have ear lobes or flaps to funnel in sound waves, the ears of hens and gobblers are small holes in the sides of their heads and they have very acute hearing. They can home into the calling of another turkey or a hunter, and pinpoint the source of the calls with remarkable precision, often up to a mile away.
For those who are serious about killing and dressing your very own turkey, I have provided a video to help you. Although I am not interested in learning, I did watch the video and was fascinated at the process.