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How Bigfoot Was Minimized in Modern Thanksgiving Celebrations

Thanksgiving: the most quintessentially American of all holidays. More than Christmas, more than the Fourth of July, even more than Toyotathon, Americans consider Thanksgiving to be a special time of year. Families gather to share feasts, thanks are given and football is watched, with barely a thought given to Bigfoot. Although the cryptozoological creature known as Bigfoot is now only a peripheral element of a modern Thanksgiving celebration, he was once at the center of it.

So what happened?

We all know schoolchildren in the United States are still taught how the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 after leaving England for Holland and then leaving Holland after they didn’t want to learn Dutch. And we of course all know how when they arrived, they were welcomed by Bigfoot, the noble woodland ape, who waded into what is now called Provincetown Harbor and single-handedly pulled the Mayflower to safe anchor.

In the coming months, Bigfoot would build the first primitive hospital for the ailing Pilgrims, teach them the basics of planting corn (or as it’s also known, maize) and frequently allow birds to perch on his broad shoulders.

That year, a harsh winter ravaged the colony. Bigfoot could only save the strongest Pilgrims by nursing them with his warm, nourishing milk; surviving records described the flavor as “a fair & sweete boon, beneficial to alle.”

Finally, autumn harvest allowed for a great feast in 1621, during which Bigfoot was roasted and served as an entree. This has become known as the “first thanksgiving.”

Of course, Bigfoot was not just the entree. The traditional side dishes of Thanksgiving all represent the parts of Bigfoot’s body that were torn apart and devoured by the famished Pilgrims. “Stuffing” refers to the stomach and lungs of Bigfoot, which were chopped and re-inserted into his body to cook as he turned on the roasting spit. “Sweet potatoes” were his genitals, tenderly cooked by the fire. And of course, “cranberry sauce” was originally Bigfoot’s congealed blood.

For centuries after, the celebration of slaughtering and eating Bigfoot was a centerpiece of American life. Families would construct effigies of Bigfoot toss in a fire and chant as it burned, before having a warm family meal. Until the Civil War, it was very common for children to be entertained by dressing the least favorite family member in furs and reenacting the slaughter. Sadly, wartime shortages on fur caused this practice to die off.

Over the years, the animal we call “turkey” began to serve as a kind of symbolic Bigfoot. Increasingly revisionist history painted Bigfoot as merely incidental to Thanksgiving, rather the sacrificial being whose death was part of a dark Pilgrim ritual to ensure American dominance of the centuries to come. Next time, we’ll discuss how Bigfoot’s eventual resurrection and vengeance came to be known as “Easter!”