Monday, October 10, 2011
This past week, we tried following some pioneer traditions leading up to Thanksgiving, based on the book "A Pioneer Thanksgiving, A Story of Harvest Celebration in 1841" by Barbara Greenwood.
The Pioneers made theirs with honeysuckle vines or willow wands. Children were sent into the forest with these baskets to gather from the wild - acorns, beechnuts, black walnuts, butternuts or sweet chestnuts. We filled ours with acorns.
Serena remembered a perfect spot for collecting horse chestnuts - it's the same spot where we always go to get our leaves in the fall for composting. We made our conkers by threading a string through each chestnut. To play, take turns whirling your conker to strike the nuts on the ground!
We saved and cleaned some peach stones for this game popular among the Iroquois children at the Green Corn Festival.
This ritual was a harvest superstition to pass the "harvest spirit" on to the new crop. It's traditionally made with wheat stalks - wheat is called corn in Europe and Britain. We made ours with twine.
The pioneers would gather cranberries after the first hard frost. It was slow work to pick the berries out of their tangle of stems in the cranberry bog. We picked ours from the supermarket. It was fast.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16
"A Pioneer Story: the daily life of a Canadian Family in 1840" by Barbara Greenwood
"Canadian Pioneers" by Maxine Trottier