A welcome event in my childhood was the Harvest Home or Harvest Festival...churches would be full of wonderful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables...breads and cakes and flowers...taking pride of place was a huge sheaf of wheat. After the service, the food was distributed to older people and the local cottage hospital...
Then there would be a feast for the villagers in the big house or the Village Hall....long trestle tables laid out with roasted chickens and sausage rolls...baked potatoes and trifles and puddings. It was the way of saying thank-you for a good harvest. Everyone joined in and a good time was had...
Depending upon the area you lived in, the Harvest Home could take place at any time between the end of September to the end of November when it was usually known as Martinmas or the Feast of Saint Martin...like most Christian special days, the origins of giving thanks to the gods goes way back to very early times. In fact it is thought that Cashel Man...the oldest bog body found so far at an estimated age of 4,000 years old...was likely to have been a sacrifice to the gods because the crops had failed that year.
When the Pilgrim Fathers celebrated the first Thanksgiving, they were following the long tradition of a Harvest Home...gathering together to give thanks for a successful harvest and having a feast. Except they didn't have much food for a feast until a few Natives took pity on them and shared some of their food...
I've always found it odd that those Natives bothered...they were certainly far kinder and less judgemental than the White men.
Something else I'd never realised was that the original settlers were wealthy people in England...not quite following the Puritan lifestyle of simple clothing and simple living that we've been led to believe, but moderately rich merchants and traders and farmers...must have been a come down to have to share sinewy old turkeys for dinner with a bunch of Natives.
The turkey you eat today will be plump, even fat. He or she will have had water injected under the skin to sort of round his shape out...that is supposed to illegal but it still carries on...and he'll have had plenty of weird and wonderful medication to make him grow as fast as possible in the least amount of time...and that's illegal as well but it still goes on...and that's in addition to the meds against Blackhead, a disease to which Turkeys are prone.
The Pilgrim Fathers didn't need to worry about how the turkeys they ate were reared nor how they were killed...they might well have been skinny little things who could run fast...but they'd have eaten fresh unadulterated food...bugs and seeds and corn kernels. In as far as a turkey can be happy...their dinner had a happy life before it was put in a pot.
Your turkey didn't have a happy life...I'll spare you the details because you can always Google if you want to know more.
What is all boils down to is if you celebrated Thanksgiving today you are following in the ancient traditions of a celebration of harvest...sharing a meal with family and friends and giving thanks to the gods for another successful growing year...