Cold wind. Salt water splashing against your face. The temperature is dropping. And for several people around you, disease and the rough seas are beginning to get the best of them. It’s a 66 day long trip. A 1,584 hour long journey from Plymouth, England to the new world. The world of promise, of wonder. The
world where any man or woman can practice any religion, or own their own land. But oh, were those 66 days hard. Around you sails get filled with the winds of the life you’ve left behind, in hopes for something more.
That’s the perspective of one of the (widely known as) Pilgrims. The group of settlers that left England on the Mayflower to make anchor in the shores of what is now cape cod. (far more north than their expected target of the Hudson River). The winter came hard for those settlers. With most of the crew opting to stay on board the ship instead of exploring and settling the new world before them. Throughout that winter, out of the 103 passengers; half passed on by either disease, exposure or scurvy (yes, scurvy is a real thing).
When the spring New England sun rose for the first time that year, the remaining settlers made their way to shore. Upon arriving, a neighboring member of the Abenaki tribe greeted the settlers. That same native American introduced the settlers to Squanto. Squanto was a member of the Pawtucket tribe. He was kidnapped by an English sea captain. Sold off to slavery. Escaped his slavers. And had found safe return to his home land.
Squanto taught the now weak from malnutrition pilgrims the ways of the land. How grow crops, extract sap from trees, and catch catfish. As well as how to avoid poisonous plants. Among all these things he helped the pilgrims form an alliance with the local Wampanoag tribe.
After the pilgrims first successful harvest, governor William Bradford organized a meal that lasted three days and included the native tribe.
It wasn’t until 1863 where Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday (at the behest of writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). Set to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. It was celebrated on the day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. So it has been ever since.
Thanksgiving was and is a time to gather around with the people you love. Give thanks to the things you have. Spend time as a group. And appreciate each other. So from our family to yours. Happy Thanksgiving from BV305.en two groups that plan on serving their community for a very long time.
Written by: Victor Fonseca
Edited by: Javier Vasallo