Climate and the History of Thanksgiving
UPDATED November 20, 2013
By WeatherBug Meteorologists
- Maple dance - gave thanks to the creator for the maple tree and its syrup. Took place when weather was warm enough for sap to run in maple trees, usually February - March.
- Planting feast - blessing for the seeds.
- Strawberry festival - celebrated first fruits of the season.
- Green corn festival - took place in summer.
- Frost festival - after Indian summer and first frost.
- Harvest festival - late fall.
- Feasts of Thanksgiving had been observed by Pilgrims for many years before coming to America.
- 1621 - The first American Thanksgiving likely featured wild venison and fowl rather than turkey.
- 1623 - A Thanksgiving was observed on June 30 to pray for rain after a long drought.
- 1939 -President Franklin Roosevelt moves Thanksgiving up a week when it`s discovered that it fell on November 30th that year. Fearing that was too late to kick off the traditional Christmas shopping season during the final years of the Great Depression, he announced Thanksgiving would be moved to November 23rd. Public outcry made Congress sign a law into effect in 1941 to officially designate that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
- Iroquois mixed their crops using an "interplanting" system. Two or three weeks after the corn was planted, the women returned to plant bean seeds in the same hills. The beans contributed nitrogen to the soil, and the cornstalks served as bean poles. Between the rows, the farmers cultivated a low-growing crop such as squash or pumpkins, the leaves of which shaded the ground, preserving moisture and inhibiting weed growth.
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