Saturday, November 26, 2005

"They were the first ones to essentially give us a recorded celebration."

You think the first Thanksgiving happened with the Pilgrims and some native Americans in Massachusetts? Perhaps you're wrong - at least some Florida historians think you are.

But when it comes to Thanksgiving, Florida historians have been saying the same thing for years: It happened first in the Sunshine State — with salt pork, sea biscuits and garbanzo beans. In the 1560s, French and Spanish settlers arrived separately on Florida's northern coast, and each celebrated with prayer and a thanksgiving feast. The Spanish gathering at St. Augustine even featured guests from a local American Indian tribe.


It wasn't until 1621, more than 50 years later, that Pilgrims came to Plymouth, Mass., and held the feast that was later dubbed the first Thanksgiving. But the Florida celebrations didn't become widely known until the second half of the 20th century, long after Abraham Lincoln's 1863 declaration that the last Thursday in November would be the national day of Thanksgiving. (Palm Beach Post)

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