On Wednesday, we had our first field trip of the year to Strawbery Banke!
We visited Strawbery Banke to learn about the Thanksgiving traditions that have existed in our community for hundreds of years. We visited seven different stations to learn about how the holiday was celebrated over time as well as about similar holidays that are celebrated in countries all around the world.
Our first stop was at Governor Goodwin's house, where we learned about Thanksgiving traditions from the 1800s. We learned that many families would do things to give back around the holidays, such as creating charity baskets.
Families who did not have the means to prepare a Thanksgiving meal would go around from house with a pillow case to house to collect supplies for their feast. They would add wild rice, Indian meal (corn meal), flour, sugar, raisins, apples, a piece of meat, and baked goods to the bags along with knitted items to help those who were less fortunate.
We also got to meet Mrs. Goodwin, who told us that Sarah Josepha Hale, a New Hampshire native, was the person to ask the president to make Thanksgiving a national holiday-- she had to ask five different presidents before one finally agreed! Ms. Hale wanted Thanksgiving to be on the same day, so families from different states could come together to celebrate and have more time to prepare for the festivities. Before Abraham Lincoln agreed to make it so during his presidency, all states celebrated Thanksgiving on a different Thursday of the year, and they only got four days' notice to prepare!
We also visited the Shapiro house to learn about holidays similar to Thanksgiving that are celebrated around the world with feasts and festivals. In Israel, they celebrate Sukkot, which is an autumn harvest festival celebrating the sheltering of the Israelites. In Germany they celebrate St. Martin's Day with a feast, and in China they have their Mid Autumn Festival. In Ghana, they have their Yam Festival and in India, they celebrate Pongal.
We also got to visit Mrs. Shapiro, who told us that she brought traditions from her culture to her family's Thanksgiving celebrations when she immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. We helped her prepare her matzo for her matzo ball soup by breaking it up into very fine pieces. She used the bigger pieces of matzo to add to her stuffing!
We then traveled back in time to an early Thanksgiving celebration at the Fraser Pitt Tavern in the 1700s, where we learned how to make corn husk dolls. Early settlers in the U.S. learned how to utilize all parts of their crops and game from the Native Americans, who joined the settlers for their Thanksgiving feasts
We learned they also used the corn husks as stuffing for their beds, though they were not the most comfortable!
We completed a venn diagram of Thanksgiving traditions from 1777 to 2016, and we saw that many traditions are still the same. While we still cook up a big meal today, the way we prepare our meal is very different.
Ovens were more like fireplaces, and pots would hang from S hooks of different sizes over the fire to control the temperature they were cooked at--the longer the hook, the hotter the pot would get. They would also use a hole in the back of the fireplace as an oven for breads and pies.
We got to try some of the different kitchen tools they had available, such as a grinder for spices, scales for measuring ingredients, stringing beans to try for winter, and mortars and pestles for making indian meal.
We learned so much from the docents and role players at Strawbery Banke as well as our amazing chaperones who accompanied us on our trip, we are so grateful for all of your help with making this wonderful learning experience possible. All of the second graders received a coupon for free admission for our whole family, and we hope you will visit there soon!
Chaperones, if you have any photos you would like to share, please send them along!