After a treacherous voyage and first brutal winter spent along the shore of Cape Cod Bay, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony had a stroke of good fortune. Members of the Wampanoag Nation offered to teach them how to gather food from the wild and cultivate native crops such as corn. The first harvest, in 1621, proved so successful that Governor William Bradford ordered a feast to celebrate. We now call this the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, although they considered it simply a harvest festival. The event, however, was a far cry from today's observance.
The thankful colonists soon joined by their generous Native American friends, took part in a 3-day party that included singing, dancing, musket and bow-and-arrow competitions, and footraces.
Historians can document with certainty only two items on the menu for that day: fowl provided by the Pilgrims and venison provided by the Wampanoag. Seafood such as bass, cod, eels, clams, and mussels may have been on the table, possibly along with game such as harbor seal, waterfowl, rabbit, and grey squirrel. Roots, fruit, and nuts were also common fare of the day. We don't know for sure whether turkey was served, but it somehow become a tradition--and that's another reason to celebrate.
SKY WATCH ☆ The year's only total eclipse, of the Sun, occurs on the 3rd and is visible from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean and west central Africa. Saturn is gone, but Venus starts to show some elevation gain as it noticeably brightens to -4.8. The Moon, dangling before invisible Pluto, stands above Venus on the 6th. The Moon hovers just above Uranus on the 13th, to the lower right of Jupiter on the 21st, and to the right of faint Mars on the 27th. The Orange World is now rising at 1:00 A.M. Mercury, at magnitude -0.7, appears low in the east at about 40 minutes before sunrise, where it closely meets returning planet Saturn, which which shines at a bright magnitude 0.6, on the 25th and 26th.
Falling srops turn to falling flakes, burying hillsides, fields, and lakes. Gray skies surprise us with temperatures icy-- driving's dicey. This Thanksgiving, even the turkey is shivering! Mild reprieve, we believe.