We’re gonna hit ya with some fun facts about America’s most delicious holiday…
The first Thanksgiving was actually a three-day celebration. Today, Thanksgiving is one day — maybe two if you count Black Friday. But apparently the Pilgrims wanted to party even harder. Governor William Bradford organized the feast, inviting the Plymouth colonists’ Native American allies. It wasn’t until the guests came and joined the Pilgrims that they decided to extend the affair. The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Indians and lasted three days. Many historians believe that only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn’t survive that difficult first year after landing at Plymouth.
It’s unclear if colonists and Native Americans ate turkey at their feast. There is truly no definitive proof that the traditional Thanksgiving entree was even offered to guests back in 1621. What was on the menu? Deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. They probably ate pumpkins, but no pumpkin pies. They also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries. And no, Turduckens (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) were nowhere to be found during that first Thanksgiving.
Nothing Has Changed
Today, a part of Plymouth, Massachusetts, looks just as it did in the 17th century. Modeled after an English village and a Wampanoag home site, the historic attraction Plymouth Plantation stays true to its roots. You can order tickets as early as June to attend a Thanksgiving dinner complete with numerous authentic courses, tales of colonial life, and centuries-old songs.
Jefferson Was A Jerk
While president, Thomas Jefferson refused to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday. Presidents originally had to declare it a holiday every year. History says Jefferson refused because he strongly believed in the separation of church and state. Since Thanksgiving involved prayer, he thought making it a holiday would violate the First Amendment.
Mary Had A Little…Turkey?
The woman behind “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is also responsible for Thanksgiving’s recognition as a national holiday. In 1863, writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale convinced President Abraham Lincoln to officially declare Thanksgiving a national holiday that recurred every year. She wrote countless articles and letters to persuade the president — and the rest is history!
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade didn’t feature any balloons. But when the parade made its big debut in 1924, it did feature something much cooler than balloons: animals from the Central Park Zoo.
In 1939, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the third Thursday in November — not the fourth. You might think President Roosevelt could predict the future, as he channeled a “Black Friday” mindset in making this decision. Even though the holiday had been celebrated on the fourth Thursday since its official recognition decades before, Roosevelt bumped it up a week — adding seven more shopping days to the holiday season. Americans, to say the least, didn’t love the change, so it was officially (and legally) switched back in 1942.
Intro: TV Dinners
A Thanksgiving mix-up inspired the first TV dinners. In 1953, a Swanson employee accidentally ordered a colossal shipment of Thanksgiving turkeys (260 tons, to be exact). To get rid of them all, salesman Gerry Thomas came up with the idea of filling 5,000 aluminum trays with the turkey – along with cornbread dressing, gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes. The 98-cents meals were a hit. Within one year, over 10 million were sold.
Football. Actual Football.
How did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving 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.
We’re So NOT Vegetarians
About 46 million turkeys are cooked for Thanksgiving each year. It’s tradition, after all! And on Christmas, 22 million families host an encore with another turkey. According to the National Turkey Federation, only 88% of Americans chow down on turkey. Which begs the question, what interesting dishes are the other 12% cooking up?
But We Are Greedy
You might consume up to 229 grams fat during the big meal. We hate to break it to you but that’s about three to four times the amount of fat you should eat in a day. You’re probably also wondering how many calories you might eat — and unfortunately an entire Thanksgiving meal could total over 3,000 calories.
What’s The Deal With The Special Turkeys?
Each year, the president of the United States 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!
Most Americans like Thanksgiving leftovers more than the actual meal. Almost 8 in 10 agree that the second helpings of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie beats out the big dinner itself – according to a 2015 Harris Poll.
Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Thanks to all that food we gobble up on Thanksgiving, Roto-Rooter reports that kitchen drains, garbage disposals, and yes, toilets, require more attention the day after Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. After all, 46 million turkeys have to go somewhere…
Dudes & Chicks
Only male turkeys actually gobble. You may have been taught in preschool that a turkey goes “gobble, gobble” — but that’s not entirely true. Only male turkeys, fittingly called gobblers, actually make the sound. Female turkeys cackle instead.
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The KSI News Team wants to wish you a safe holiday and a Happy Thanksgiving!