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10 Historical Untruths About the First Thanksgiving


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The U.S. is the Only Country that Celebrates Thanksgiving
Pearly Kings and Queens celebrate their annual Harvest Festival in London, England. li Scarff/Getty Images
Pearly Kings and Queens celebrate their annual Harvest Festival in London, England. li Scarff/Getty Images

New England, Texas, Virginia...we may not all agree on where the first Thanksgiving took place, but many of us assume that Thanksgiving Day is solely an American holiday. This may be the biggest myth of them all.

The world is a big place. Its inhabitants recognize a whole host of thanksgiving-type celebrations with wide variety of foods, drinks and events reflecting their own culture and history.

As we mentioned earlier, the English settlers were familiar with the practice of celebrating a thanksgiving; in the Middle Ages, Anglo-Saxons commemorated Lammas Day, a precursor to other harvest festivals [sources: Project Britain]. Also in England, the Pearly Kings and Queens, renowned for their pearl-button bedecked outfits, celebrate the harvest with a festival, church service and parade to raise funds for charity, as they have for more than 100 years.

Canadians celebrate that country's Thanksgiving holiday on the first Monday of October, coincidentally, the same day as American Columbus Day. The Canadian version of the holiday honors a 1578 feast held by English explorer Martin Frobisher, marking the end of his journey to Newfoundland. Surprisingly, however, Newfoundland is one of a few places across the country where the holiday is not officially recognized. Those who do celebrate the day do it a lot like their U.S. neighbors: with turkey, parades and (Canadian) football [source: HUI].

Meanwhile in western Africa, Liberian Thanksgiving is a national holiday, celebrated since 1883 [source: Government of the Republic of Liberia].

Finally, on the island of Grenada, the publicly recognized Thanksgiving holiday marks the anniversary of an invasion by U.S. and Caribbean forces in 1983. Known as Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion overthrew the communist government which had recently seized power [source: Military.com].

If you aren't stuffed with new facts about Thanksgiving and American history, pass the yams and check out the links on the next page.


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