Were Spanish Explorers the First to Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Originally published in 2005, this is an interesting look into the legacy of Thanksgiving, and perhaps where the tradition began. Enjoy.. And from all of us on the Hispanic PR Blog, Hispanicize and Latina Mom Blogger teams — Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family!

In Massachusetts, Michael Gannon says he is known as “the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving.” Gannon, a University of Florida history professor, insists it was a group of Spanish explorers and not the Pilgrims who first celebrated Thanksgiving in the New World. The date was Sept. 8, 1565 – in St. Augustine.

That’s when Pedro Menendez de Aviles and 800 Spanish settlers, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving and invited the native Seloy tribe who occupied the site, he said.

“It was the first community act of religion and Thanksgiving in the first permanent European settlement in the land,” Gannon wrote in his 1965 book, “The Cross in the Sand.” The Pilgrims didn’t have their first Thanksgiving meal until 1621, 56 years later.

The 1565 celebration wasn’t even the first Thanksgiving, Gannon said. Numerous Thanksgivings for a safe voyage and landing had been made in Florida by such explorers as Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and 1521; Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528; Hernando de Soto in 1529; Father Luis Cancer de Barbastro in 1549; and Tristan de Luna in 1559.

Read the entire article at Hispanic7.