Few things are more important to Americans than heritage. Remembering where you come from, and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are are all integral parts of the concept of the American dream.
For those reasons, no holiday could be more American in nature than Forefathers’ Day, a holiday that celebrates the first ever pilgrims courageously sailing across the vast ocean they knew very little about at the time, in search of a better life and freedom from religious prosecution.
When they set foot on the shores of North America, they themselves were the beginning of a new country that would one day become a world superpower. Now that’s definitely an event worth celebrating.
History of Forefathers’ Day
Forefathers’ Day is a commemoration of the pilgrims who sailed the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower, in 1620. As they had left England in search of better days, the Pilgrim Fathers settled on US territory, which they subsequently christened New England.
And as they had set sail from Plymouth, England, they decided to give their landing spot the whimsical name of Plymouth Rock. Therefore, Forefathers’ Day is a holiday celebrated mainly in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 22. The holiday was introduced to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1769, so it has quite a long history and tradition.
However, the joyous occasion was first celebrated in 1769, because 149 years after the forefathers actually arrived in North America, some descendants decided to gather for a feast in honour of their ancestors, who would have been their great-great-grandfathers.
How to celebrate Forefathers’ Day
The contemporary version of the feast is the Old Colony Club or Mayflower Society dinner party, which usually involves eating succotash. Nowadays, succotash is a hearty stew made from vegetables and often thick slices of poultry placed on top, but at the time, it was nothing more than sweet corn and and different kinds of beans, sometimes baked in a casserole-type dish under a pie crust to make a sort of pot pie.
In fact, Succotash (from the Narragansett word sohquttahhash) means “broken corn kernels”, and at the very very beginning that’s pretty much all it was. Other ingredients may have been added later as well, including tomatoes and green or sweet red peppers. To celebrate Forefathers’ Day properly, you could try preparing and eating the hallowed Forefather’s traditional succotash, just to get a tiny taste of all the hardships and discomforts that they had to go through to help make America what it is today.
Succotash is in no way bad-tasting, mind you; it just doesn’t have much to offer in the way of nutrition when you think about all of the hard, physical work that had to be done at that time. Make it yourself using this easy recipe:
Forefathers’ Style Succotash
- 2 cups fresh lima beans
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Place lima beans in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until beans are tender.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Sauté diced onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Stir in corn; cook, stirring often, 6 minutes or until corn is tender. Stir in beans and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in butter, and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chives.