Thanksgiving day is a national holiday that is celebrated in the United States, which occurs on the 4th Thursday in November every year. The US celebrate it with family and friends, by watching football and having turkey with all the trimmings. In some households, they go round the table saying what they are most thankful for. After that, they would gear up by looking for Santa during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Did you ever wonder how Thanksgiving came about? Read the history of Thanksgiving and The Fun Facts about it too.
The story of Thanksgiving started in September by the English Colonists that we refer to as pilgrims, they celebrated the days of Thanksgiving as part of their religion. Back then, it would be days of prayers, not days of feasting, but the national holiday really stems from the feast in autumn of 1621, by the pilgrims and Wampanoag it was to celebrate the first successful harvest.
The Colonists at Plymouth and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast at their Plantation where settlers held their feast after a successful growing season… The celebrations for the pilgrims went on for three days, which is recognised today, like the beginning of the first Thanksgiving.
- The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. Many historians believe that only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving,
- Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, who was the woman who actually wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” eventually convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after she wrote letters for 17 years of campaigning for this to happen.
- No forks at the first Thanksgiving! The meal was eaten with spoons and knives. That’s right, forks were not even introduced to the Pilgrims until 10 years later and weren’t a popular utensil until the 18th century.
- Thanksgiving is the reason for TV dinners! In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey (260 tons) that a salesman told them they should package them onto aluminium trays with like sweet potatoes on the side, and hey presto the first TV dinner was born!
- Thanksgiving was almost a fast, not a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is what they planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, that is until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day feast!
- Presidential pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president of the U.S pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey pardon ceremony started with President Truman in 1947. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who has flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade!
- Why is Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November? President Abe Lincoln said Thanksgiving would be the fourth Thursday in November, but in 1939 President Roosevelt moved it up a week hoping it would help the shopping season during the Depression era. It never caught on and it was changed back two years later.
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 with 400 employees marching from Convent Ave to 145th Street in New York City. No large balloons were at this parade, as it featured only live animals from Central Park Zoo.
- Turkey isn’t responsible for drowsiness or the dreaded “food coma.”So what is? Scientists say that extra glass of wine, the high-calorie meal or relaxing after a busy work schedule is what makes you drowsy.
- How did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving day start? The NFL started the Thanksgiving Classic games in 1920 and since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Turkey Day. In 2006, a third game was added with different teams hosting.
- Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour when they are scared, but domesticated turkeys that are bred are heavier and can’t run quite as fast.
- Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be the turkey that represents the national bird, not the eagle.
- Americans eat 46 million turkeys.
- Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first meal while walking on the moon was foiled packets with roasted turkey.
- The heaviest turkey on record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, weighed 86 pounds.
- Californians consume the most turkeys in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day!
- Female turkeys (called hens) do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble.
- The average turkey for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day, from my family to yours!