Thursday, November 24, 2011

Was first Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, Fla.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By Virginia Linn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The 208-foot-tall stainless steel cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Fla., was erected in 1965 to mark the 400th anniversary of the city, which is the location of the nation's first Thanksgiving in 1565, according to Florida historians.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Forget the turkey, the silly Pilgrim hats and the buckles.

Forget Plymouth Rock and 1621.

If you want to know about the real first Thanksgiving on American soil, travel 1,200 miles south and more than 50 years earlier to a grassy spot on the Matanzas River in North Florida.

This is where Spanish Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on Sept. 8, 1565. This is where he, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, 100 civilian families and artisans, and the Timucuan Indians who occupied the village of Seloy gathered at a makeshift altar and said the first Christian Mass. And afterward, this is where they held the first Thanksgiving feast.

The Timucuans brought oysters and giant clams. The Spaniards carried from their ships garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine.

Eric Johnson, director of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche -- the site at which Menendez landed -- doesn't expect Americans to change their Thanksgiving traditions that are shaped around the Pilgrims' feast. But he, like other Florida historians, would like folks to recognize that the stories they learned in grade school -- the stories presented in textbooks today -- are wrong.

It all happened in this bucolic 300-acre Catholic mission and shrine that offers a quiet respite amid the frenetic tourist activity of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. A replica of the Rustic Altar sits next to the shore in the general area where archaeologists believe the Mass took place...

1 comment:

Lola said...

St. Augustine is one National Treasure.

We were in Cozumel this past week and I found out that the first Catholic Mass in Cozumel was in 1518!
It was in Thanksgiving for God's protection from a Hurricane!

Here's some photos I found on the web

"Because the Mayan's didn't like other people's religion", according to Ivan our Tour guide, "The Mayan's abandoned Cozemel's temple."

He also made a couple of jokes about Mexico, "even with freedom of religion, 75% of Mexico is Alcoholic, I mean Catholic".

I thought it was funny.