The first Thanksgiving’s forecast

Weather Wednesday

(WIAT) — A lot has changed since the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Did you know there was no actual proof that the Pilgrims ate turkey? One thing we definitely know was involved during the fall harvest, the weather. 

There are only two written, firsthand accounts of the first Thanksgiving (information from the HistoryOfMassachusetts.org). The Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the successful fall harvest. There were 53 Pilgrims at the three-day celebration. The guests included 90 Native Americans. They were the only colonists to survive the Mayflower journey and their first winter in the New World. That’s about half the original colonists. 

The first Thanksgiving, 1621, Pilgrims and natives gather to share a meal, oil painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1932. – Illustration

There was a lot to celebrate. They made it through the first winter and, thanks to a local tribe, they had enough food to last them through next winter. 

Celebrating a fall harvest was an English tradition. So, what was the weather like?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Plymouth area would have been harvesting from September through mid-October. Pilgrims frequently wrote about the harsh weather conditions they were experiencing. But, in the written accounts, there wasn’t anything mentioned about the weather. That probably means it was fairly mild.

Think about it, you only really notice the extreme weather days enough to write about it! So, it was likely a mostly sunny day with comfortable conditions and temperatures nearing the 60s. Not too bad for the first Thanksgiving!

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