Thanksgiving Again…in April?

If you didn’t get your fill of Thanksgiving food or
celebration yesterday, and can’t bear the thought of waiting till next autumn for a repeat, why not head to El
Paso in April? Yup, this was news to me, but I thank the reader who
commented yesterday, sparking my curiosity
to learn more. Turns out that when the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate stopped in El Paso in 1598 to claim the
upper Rio Grande territory for the king of Spain, his group of traveling explorers held a celebration that El
Pasoans consider to be the first true Thanksgiving — 23 years before the Mayflower arrived. (A little bit more
about the history of these colonizers can be found
here.) The
city holds a Heritage Festival each spring from late April to early May that celebrates both that Thanksgiving and
Cinco de Mayo (tequila and turkey anyone?) Among the activities is a reenactment of that historic feast at
Chamizal Park. Anyone know more about this other Thanksgiving celebration?
I’d love to hear from others who have celebrated or participated in festivities related to this event.

[The photo shows a statue of Juan de Oñate that was recently commissioned.]