On Thanksgiving Eve I am thinking of the beginnings of Thanksgiving.
There is of course much debate about when the first true Thanksgiving was. Was the first Thanksgiving 400 years ago in November of 1621, or was the feast part of just a spontaneous harvest festival?
Of course, you also need to look at the claim that the first Thanksgiving was in Jamestown if you only look at it as a spontaneous harvest festival.
However, a better candidate for the first Thanksgiving is July 1623 when the leaders of Plymouth set a feast of Thanksgiving in anticipation of the arrival of the Anne and the Little James?
The two ships were bringing much needed supplies to the colony as well as additional settlers. Supplies were running very low and when they heard that the ships would soon arrive they held a fast for several days and then a feast of Thanksgiving.
You may wonder how they knew that the ships were arriving. They had been spotted out to sea and a small craft brought the news to the colony. It took the ships a bit longer to arrive than anticipated and the feast was held before they arrived. Therefore, several of my ancestors were late for Thanksgiving.
At least three of my ancestors were on the Anne which arrived the day after the Thanksgiving feast. The Little James arrived about a week or so later.
One of the passengers, Mary Becket later married George Soule who is my Mayflower ancestor.
Passengers, Francis Sprague and his daughter Mercy Sprague were also my ancestors. Mercy later married William Tubbs.
Even though they missed the feast, I am sure that there were leftovers just like today. They were probably glad to finally eat something different than what they had on the ship.
The arrival of the Anne also sets a historical precedent of going to the stores on the day after Thanksgiving.
Most likely the colonists were digging into the stores on the Anne the same day she arrived as they were really anticipating the supplies that were sent.
Was this the first Black Friday? I looked up the day of the week that the Anne arrived and it was a Thursday, so perhaps not 🙂