10 Ways The History Of Thanksgiving Is Nothing Like You Imagined

10. The First Thanksgiving Was Held By Arctic Explorers

Photo credit: Wikimedia

The first Thanksgiving was held in 1578, more than 40 years before the Pilgrims had even arrived at Plymouth—and it was an awful lot colder. It was held among the ice of what would eventually be called Frobisher Bay, and it would become known as the first Canadian Thanksgiving.

When Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, it has nothing to do with Puritan Pilgrims and Native Americans eating together at Plymouth. They’re commemorating the day the Arctic explorer Martin Frobisher arrived to begin his search for the Northwest Passage. He had already a lost a ship in the ice of the Canadian Arctic, and to keep spirits high, he and his men paused to hold mass, have a meal, and give thanks for the fact that they were still alive.

It was a little bit less glamorous than the holiday we enjoy today. These were Arctic explorers, so they didn’t exactly have turkey. Instead, it’s believed that the first Thanksgiving meal was a scrumptious, one-course repast of salted beef rations and stale crackers.[1]

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