Okay, so you probably already know that today is Thanksgiving day. You are probably also about to or have already stuffed yourself with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and all the other fixings that go along with it. You may have even watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or have the TV tuned to your favorite football game. We can probably all agree that these are all things that are associated with Thanksgiving. You probably didn’t know these ten things that are all about Thanksgiving.
- The 1st Thanksgiving was not a feast – The first Thanksgiving was a time when Native Americans helped Pilgrims by bringing them food and helping them build off the land. The truth of the matter is that it was only dubbed Thanksgiving because the Pilgrims that survived the long journey to America were thankful to be alive. The entire event lasted three days.
- Thanksgiving wasn’t a National Holiday until 1863 – Sarah Josepha Hale (no relation to this author), a magazine editor, started a campaign to make Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1827. It took her 36 years, but in 1863 Thanksgiving was recognized as a day for national Thanksgiving and prayer by Abraham Lincoln.
- George H.W. Bush was the first President to “officially” pardon the White House Turkey – Each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board have given a turkey to the President of the United States at a White House ceremony. Since then, presidents have been more likely to eat the turkey rather than give it a reprieve. A notable exception occurred in 1963, when President Kennedy, referring to the turkey given to him, said, “Let’s just keep him.” It wasn’t until the first Thanksgiving of President George H.W. Bush, in 1989, that a turkey was officially pardoned for the first time.
- 65% of the 280 million U.S. Thanksgiving turkeys come from only 6 states – 44.5 million is the number of turkeys Minnesota raised in 2005. The Gopher State is tops in turkey production. It is followed by North Carolina (36.0 million), Arkansas (29.0 million), Virginia (21.0 million), Missouri (20.5 million) and California (15.1 million). These states account for 65% of the United States Thanksgiving turkeys.
- Jingle Bells was originally written as a Thanksgiving song – The author and composer of Jingle Bells was a minister called James Pierpoint who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas, and indeed Jingle Bells has been reprised ever since. The essence of a traditional Christmas is captured in the lyrics of Jingle Bells and the sound effects using the bells have become synonymous with the arrival of Father Christmas or Santa Claus to the delight of children of all ages.
- More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving – Believe it or not, according to research by the Food Network green bean casserole is the number one side dish on thanksgiving after dressing and cranberry sauce.
- Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving – Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.Canadians often refer to the American Thanksgiving holiday as “Yanksgiving” so as not to confuse it with the Canadian holiday.
- In 1939 Thanksgiving was moved to November 23rd to help the economy and extend the Christmas shopping season – In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth that year and extend the Christmas shopping season. This proclamation only applied officially to the District of Columbia, but was observed by the rest of the country as well amid much debate.
- The tradition of pro football being played on Thanksgiving started in 1920 – It was recommended in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson that professional football be played on Thanksgiving day to give people something to do after they ate a big meal. The games that year were:
AKRON PROS 7, Canton Bulldogs 0
Decatur Staleys 6, CHICAGO TIGERS 0
ELYRIA (OH) ATHLETICS 0, Columbus Panhandles 0
DAYTON TRIANGLES 28, Detroit Heralds 0
CHICAGO BOOSTERS 27, Hammond Pros 0
All-Tonawanda (NY) 14, ROCHESTER JEFFERSONS 3
- Macy’s was not the first department store to hold a Thanksgiving parade – The parade is billed as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, having started in 1920. Like other parades of its type, it features balloons, floats, high school marching bands, and celebrities. When the parade first started out it was called the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was called this because Ellis Gimbel, one of the founders of Gimbels Department Stores, wanted his toyland to be the destination of holiday shoppers everywhere. He dressed up over 50 store employees and sent them out on their first Thanksgiving day parade. Another big part of the parade was seeing Santa Claus arrive. Gimbels created the Thanksgiving Day Parade here in America and there example has caused others to continue in there tradition. This tradition still occurs today. It is now called the 6abc IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade.
So, that’s that. hopefully you now know more about Thanksgiving than you did before you read this. Not that you wanted to know, but now you do.