A panel of Halloween and Thanksgiving postcards and historic facts is on display now through November at the Burrows House Museum of the Lincoln County Historical Society.
Halloween probably originated with the Celts who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. They celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. On Oct. 31 they celebrated Samhain, believing that was the time the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Halloween also coincides with the Christian celebration of Day of the Dead, which occurs Nov. 1.
Thanksgiving goes back to President George Washington who declared a public day of thanksgiving and prayer on Nov. 26. President Abraham Lincoln changed it to the fourth Tuesday of November, and President Franklin Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving, which is when we now celebrate.
We think of the harvest feast the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared in 1621 as the first Thanksgiving. At that meal, there were no sweets and no milk since the Pilgrims had not brought sugar or cows with them. The foods they ate included: wild fowl such as turkey, goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge and eagles; meat and seafood such as venison, seal, cod, eel, clams and lobster; fruits, vegetables, and nuts such as pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots, plums, grapes, walnuts, chestnuts and acorns. Corn would have been out of season, and sweet potatoes were not common.
Settlers came to this area in the mid-1800s from other parts of North America or from their countries of origin. As they learned about local food products and dealt with availability of ingredients, they adapted and created new traditions. Mushrooms, hazelnuts, apples, oysters, seafood and fish are part of this region’s heritage.
The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Lincoln County. It operates the Burrows House and Log Cabin museums located at 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport. The museums are free and open to the public. The Burrows House Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Log Cabin Museum is open Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.