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Nov 26, 2009 4:35 PM by Steve Adamson

What the weather was like for the first Thanksgiving?

We all know that the tradition of Thanksgiving here in the United States dates back to the 1620's. It was a time when the Pilgrims who settled near Plymouth, Massachusetts and Native American Indians who were nearby, came together for a three day feast. It occurred because there was much to be thankful for in the fall of 1621. The Pilgrims had survived their first year in the new land, as they had built homes to live in, grown crops for food to sustain them, and had made friends with the Indians.

It is thought that the first Thanksgiving occurred in October of 1621, likely during the middle of the month, but no one knows the exact date. While there are notes about what was eaten, games that were played, and the showing off of various skills, ( bow and arrow use, musket shooting, marching, etc. ) there really isn't any specific references made to the weather.

One has to assume that the weather was uneventful, because references about the weather when the Pilgrims first landed in Massachusetts ( Dec. 1620 ) have been noted. There were also notations made about the weather during their first Winter and Spring in Plymouth after settling. It is said that the Pilgrims came ashore in stormy and cold conditions, and after a cold start to their first days there, the Winter was said to be milder, followed by an early Spring. Nothing is noted about how what the weather was during the time they celebrated the first Thanksgiving, so it is assumed or theorized that it wasn't stormy, windy, rainy, or cold.

October is usually a pleasant time in Southern New England. If you look at the normal high temperatures for mid October, lower 60s would be the average high temperature for that time of the year. Perhaps we can assume then that the weather was indeed nothing out of the ordinary, and say the Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed weather that was typical for mid October back at the first Thanksgiving.

Taking into account what we've mentioned, we can probably say the weather for the first Thanksgiving held in the U.S. was sunny and mild, with temperatures that were somewhere in the 60s.

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