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Thanksgiving: The Making of an American Holiday

Think it’s all about Pilgrims? Think again


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Click on the video above to learn the real history of Thanksgiving.

Pilgrims in tall black hats and Indians in feathered headdresses may bethe most commonly recognized emblems of Thanksgiving, one of America’smost popular national holidays (it surpasses Christmas as the busiesttravel time of the year). But the real origins of the holiday havelittle to do with Plymouth Rock and a lot more to do with a nation inturmoil during the Civil War — more than 200 years after the Pilgrimslanded in Plymouth in 1620. BU Todayasked anthropologists Merry White, a College of Arts and Sciencesprofessor, and Tony Barrand, a CAS professor and a UniversityProfessor, to give us some insight into the foggy beginnings ofAmerica’s favorite day.

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.


3 Comments on Thanksgiving: The Making of an American Holiday

  • Anonymous on 11.26.2008 at 8:10 am

    What about the Native Perspective?


    This little clip was great, but lacking another side of the story. I would like to suggest there be coverage of the Native American Perspective of Thanksgiving.


    Shanadeen Begay

  • Anonymous on 11.26.2008 at 1:39 pm

    Same vids year after year

    I wonder how many years they have been reshowing this video. They repeat a lot of videos from year to year if you haven’t noticed. Come on BU … make something new once in a while. Maybe students should starts handing in the same papers from year to year…

  • SharonH on 11.22.2010 at 10:53 am

    Excellent and Balanced View

    For those of you wanting to read a book that is extremely fair to the Indian tribes, the Pilgrims and the Puritans (yes, there is a difference), I recommend Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower”. It’s highly readable, explodes some popular myths and gives everyone involved their due (or not, as the case may be). Sorry to plug something but I simply could not put this book down and was very impressed by the author’s fairness and detailed knowledge.

    All the myths we grew up with seem so silly sometimes!

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