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Find out 5 things you probably didn’t know about Thanksgiving
Originally celebrated as a day of gratitude for the bountiful harvest, Thanksgiving is now an occasion where family and friends set aside time to give thanks for the blessings in life.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, it is a holiday tradition to hold a special dinner, which may include dishes such as roast turkey and seasonal produce including pumpkin, corn ears and pecan nuts. As families gather for the annual Thanksgiving feast, it is of common practice for each member to share the things they are grateful for, before tucking into the spread.
Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about Thanksgiving:
#1: Thanksgiving was not originally intended to be a feast
The early settlers wanted to give thanks to their harvest by abstaining from food. However, the Wampanoag Indians joined them and transformed this abstinence into a three-day feast.
#2: Shepherd’s Pie – The Great Thanksgiving Leftovers Solution
Shepherd’s pie is a favourite post-Thanksgiving dish as it uses leftovers from the massive Thanksgiving feast. In other words, no food wastage! From turkey, gravy, stuffing, vegetables to mashed potatoes, a wide variety of leftover ingredients can be used in this simple and delicious dish!
#3: Turkey Day
Thanksgiving is also affectionately known as Turkey Day or T-day, as turkey is the most common main dish at Thanksgiving dinners. Compared to chicken or duck, turkeys are very much larger, thus it has become the natural choice to serve a large gathering of friends and family.
#4: Thanksgiving feasts did not comprise turkeys initially
Despite being synonymous with turkey, the first Thanksgiving feast did not consist of any turkey! In the earlier days, a Thanksgiving feast would include venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobsters, eels and fish. Turkey was known as ‘the dish’ for Thanksgiving only after Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
#5: Cranberries are more than just side dishes
Though there is no formal list dictating the official food for Thanksgiving, many do not consider their Thanksgiving dinner complete without cranberry sauce. Years ago, the Native Americans likely ate cranberries during Thanksgiving too, just not in the form of sauce. But more than consuming cranberries, they also used cranberry juice to dye clothes, rugs, and decorate pottery.
Today, we have many versions of our Thanksgiving Feast. What’s yours?