Forefathers' Day, the Forgotten Pilgrim Holiday

Posted by Reine L. on Dec 19, 2016 12:21:00 PM

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 6.05.26 PM.pngForefathers’ Day is a holiday celebrated yearly in Massachusetts that began in 1769. As recounted by the historian John Seelye, Memory’s Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock, this location was identified as the landing place many years after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on the 22nd of December and established the first colony at Plymouth in 1620.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 3.55.22 PM.pngHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, many years later, wrote a famous poem in 1858 called The Courtship of Miles Standish that recounts a true story about a pilgrim who lived during the year 1621. Children were taught for generations by Longfellow’s poetry. Coincidentally, as a descendent of John Alden, Longfellow had access to historical records and diaries. He used those facts to summarize the legend of the love triangle between John Alden, Miles Standish, and Priscilla Mullins.

The Pilgrim Hall Museum explains in an article Love and Legend, The Courtship of Miles Standish by Francis Leach, "...Longfellow used his imagination to flesh out the characters in his love triangle. Miles Standish appears as a swash-buckling hero, brave, but inarticulate and somewhat peevish. Handsome young John Alden is torn between his devotion to the Captain and his love for the Pilgrim maiden. Priscilla, despite her domestic virtues, speaks her mind in the manner of a modern feminist. Longfellow could tell a romantic tale, and in so doing, he made the names of these three Pilgrims household words across the nation…”

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 4.18.06 PM.pngThe library at Big Universe has the following four (4) books that provide some background accounts in history into the events and experiences of the Founding Fathers:

1. My Life as an Early Settler - Students will learn how early settler's sailed the oceans to come to America for a new life. The struggles they faced and how their lives were forever changed. Maps, routes they took, and fact-filled text boxes add more information on Pilgrims and Puritans.

2. Life In the Colonies - The colonies were the birthplace of the United States and they were made up of people that came from various backgrounds seeking religious freedom, wealth, and success. Daily life for the colonists was different depending on the region where they lived, yet they established a united nation built on freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

3. Pochantas - Pocahontas was the daughter of the great Chief Powhatan. Pocahontas was instrumental in helping Jamestown settlers survive a difficult winter and literally keeping peace between two diverse cultures.

4. The Jamestown Colony - This title examines an important historic event, the Jamestown Colony (1607). Readers will learn about the history of exploration in America leading up to the building of the Jamestown Colony, key players and happenings in the colony, and the colony's effect on society. Color photos, detailed maps, and informative sidebars accompany easy-to-read, compelling text.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 6.26.23 PM.pngInterestingly, the citizens of Massachusetts have continued to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrim Forefathers since its inception in 1769, to date.

The Old Colony Club, of Plymouth Massachusetts, will have a parade to commemorate on Thursday, December 22, 2016 that will begin at 6:00 a.m. The parade route will include the reading of the Mayflower Compact; Proclamations and Benediction in honor of Plymouth’s Forefathers; followed by The Old Colony Artillery Company firing of cannon, which has been a yearly tradition of The Old Colony Club since 1769.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 6.34.49 PM.pngA Forefathers Day dinner will be held at the Hotel 1620 in Plymouth, Massachusetts on the 21st day of December 2016. The Pilgrim Society and Pilgrim Hall Museum will host a speaker and the event, notably, includes history and discussions that explore recently published books about historical ancestry connections to Plymouth. The full day of events includes an annual meeting at the Pilgrim Hall Museum and society members will then conclude their celebration with dinner at Plymouth Harbor.

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Literacy

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