Experience the traditions of an early 19th-century New England Thanksgiving. Learn about 1830s dining etiquette and watch the men of the Village compete in a post-dinner target shoot. Smell the scents of roasted turkey and pies warming by the fire. Hear the minister talk about the true meaning of Thanksgiving in the Village's historic Center Meetinghouse. Learn how preparations were made for this holiday meal.
Watch a slide show.
Did you know?
- In early New England, Thanksgiving was the biggest holiday of the year, far surpassing Christmas, which wasn't celebrated in the tradition of the Puritans who settled the region.
- Turkeys in the early 19th century were much smaller than today's "butterballs," and turkey wasn't always on the Thanksgiving menu, because they were a lot of work to prepare for not much meat.
- In the early 1800s, turkey "drovers" herded and marched turkeys on foot from central and western Massachusetts to the huge Brighton market just outside of Boston, Mass. to sell the birds to wealthy city dwellers.
- Many vegetables weren't peeled for everyday cooking, but they were for holidays like Thanksgiving to show the elevated status of the day.
- Pies were baked weeks ahead of time and stored in unheated attics and bedrooms where they would freeze and keep for months. Pies not consumed at Thanksgiving would sometimes last until April.
- The cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America, and was used by Native Americans to make pemmican – a survival food made of mashed cranberries mixed with deer meat. They also used cranberries in poultices to draw poison from wounds.