Monday, December 2, 2013

First Thanksgiving Feast Actually Last Meal Before Execution, Historian Says

"The first feast, so to speak, may also have been the nation's first Last Meal." -- Abel Wharfinger

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Although the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition in America traces its roots to the seventeenth century, historians believe earlier celebrations existed on the continent as far back as 1598, when Spanish explorers in Texas gave a feast of thanks at San Elizario. Similar events were also documented in the Virginia Colony. Abel Wharfinger, the dean of History at San Narciso College, said the Pilgrims "likely witnessed a type of Thanksgiving feast prior to their journey overseas while they were staying in Leiden. There, annual services were held to observe the end of the 1574 siege. This event probably served as the influence for the holiday we now celebrate. Although our Thanksgiving is not entirely original, we've recently discovered something about it that is."

The modern Thanksgiving tradition in the United States is generally acknowledged to date back to 1621, when British colonists shared a bountiful feast with Native Americans in what is now the northeastern state of Massachusetts. Wharfinger explained that without the Wampanoag Native Americans providing seeds and teaching the Pilgrims to fish, the Plymouth colony would not have had enough food to nourish half of its 102 residents.

"So, they decided to invite the Wampanoag over to partake in the bumper harvest," Wharfinger continued. "Based on the events that followed shortly thereafter, we now believe that the 1621 Thanksgiving feast provides evidence of the nation's first instance of a Last Meal before an execution. Truly fascinating."

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