Did you know that at the original event, which would eventually become the modern-day Thanksgiving in America, there was actually no turkey served? It was 1621 and the pilgrims invited the local North American Indians to a celebration for the good harvest they had that year. The previous year, almost half of the pilgrims died from starvation and it was the local Indian tribe that helped them survive. The food eaten at that first “thanksgiving” included goose, lobster, fish, and deer but no turkey.
So why do Americans have turkey at Thanksgiving? Historians are not a 100% sure, but they believe the tradition traces itself back to a letter written by one of the pilgrims that mentioned they had gone out to hunt turkey right before the feast took place. I am guessing that the turkeys of the world would love to go back in time and make sure that the letter never got delivered. Sounds like the plot of a good Disney animation movie.
This week we take time away from school for a number of reasons. One is to give the students a needed break before we head into the very busy last few weeks of school and final exams. The second reason is that we do want to encourage people to take time to be thankful and grateful for what they have. One of the easiest ways to help students feel grateful is to let them take some time off from school. Ultimately, our hope is that during this long weekend, no matter which culture you are from, that there will be time to spend with family and to be thankful for all that we have. Enjoy the long weekend and maybe go out and have some thanksgiving lobster – it is actually less expensive than turkey here in Penang.