Thanksgiving Fun Facts
Fun Facts about the First Thanksgiving
- The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
- The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.
- They sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of ‘Mayflower’.
- They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
- The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
- The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.
- The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
- Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving’s feast table.
- Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
- The pilgrims didn’t use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.
Thanksgiving Facts throughout History
- Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
- 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”
- Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
- The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
- In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.
- Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
- Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.
Fun Facts about Thanksgiving Today
- In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
- Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.
- Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
- Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
- Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
- Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.
Fun Turkey Facts
- The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
- The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
- A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
- The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.
- Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
- Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
- Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clucking noise.
- Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
- Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
- A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
- Turkeys have poor night vision.
- It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.
- A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.