Thanksgiving is a tradition that brings loved ones together from all over the country;sometimes from all over the world! As you gather to enjoy the holiday, impress your family and friends with some of the interesting facts below!
The famous pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Colony Massachusetts in 1621 is traditionally regarded as the first American Thanksgiving. However, there are actually 12 claims to where the “first” Thanksgiving took place: two in Texas, two in Florida, one in Maine, two in Virginia, and five in Massachusetts.
In October of 1777 all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time; however it was a one-time affair commemorating a victory over the British at Saratoga.
Held every year on the island of Alcatraz since 1975, “Unthanksgiving Day” commemorates the survival of Native Americans following the arrival and settlement of Europeans in the Americas.
The turkeys typically depicted in Thanksgiving pictures are not the same as the domestic turkeys most people eat at Thanksgiving. Domestic turkeys usually weigh twice as much and are too large to fly.
Speaking of turkeys, a spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. They can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.
Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving, but at the first Thanksgiving they probably weren’t present. Cranberries were actually used by Native Americans to treat arrow wounds and to dye clothes.
Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast. In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.
Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
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 it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes — and the first TV dinner was born!
Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade—to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season—the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.