Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays. It’s a time to come together with friends and family, share a feast, and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. While everyone knows about the traditional turkey dinner and pumpkin pie, there are some fun facts about Thanksgiving that many people don’t know. Here are 15 of them!
1. The first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in 1621. It lasted for three days and was attended by the Pilgrims, Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe, and 90 other guests. During this time, they feasted on wildfowl, venison, shellfish, lobster, eel and pumpkin.
2. The American Colonists did not even call it ‘Thanksgiving’, as it had a different name in England called ‘Harvest Home’.
3. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would become a national holiday to be held each November. Every year since then, it has been observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November.
4. Macy’s department store started the tradition of a large parade in New York in 1924. Every year, this parade is watched by over 3 million people and viewed by almost 50 million television viewers around the world.
5. The iconic symbol for Thanksgiving is the cornucopia which originated from Greek mythology about Zeus’s nursemaid, Amalthea who fed him with honey from a horn that was shaped like a goat’s horn.
6. The World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie was made in Ohio in 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers at their town festival, with a diameter of 20 feet and weighing 3,699 pounds! It contained 180 gallons of pumpkin filling, 1401 eggs and 350 pounds of sugar.
7. The bird that is traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving Day varies from family to family, with turkey being the most popular choice. In fact, over 45 million turkeys are consumed every Thanksgiving in the United States alone!
8. The first recorded use of ‘turkey’ for the traditional Thanksgiving meal was in 1637 by a Massachusetts colonist named Edward Winslow.
9. Before refrigeration and modern transportation methods, people had to depend on local sources for their food which meant that some items on our current menus were not available to them at all! Cranberry sauce was one of those items.
10. Football has become an integral part of the holiday since it began in 1876. Millions of people watch the games on television as a part of their Thanksgiving celebration.
11. The first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation was written by Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor and women’s rights activist in 1817. She wrote to five presidents asking for it to be declared a national holiday and in 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared that it would become one.
12. Another tradition associated with the holiday is leaf raking! Families get together to rake all the leaves from their yards or have hay rides with family members and friends around their neighborhood or nearby apple orchards, creating wonderful memories together.
13. Native Americans had long celebrated autumn harvest festivals, even before Europeans arrived in America which means that Thanksgiving is actually a combination of both cultures, traditions, and feasts.
14. The record for the heaviest turkey ever killed was set in 1989 by a man in Arizona who shot a 90-pound bird!
15. Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada (but usually one week earlier than in the United States) and in other countries around the world, with different customs and traditions associated with it. For example, in Japan they celebrate ‘Kinrō Kansha no Hi’ which roughly translates as ‘Labor Thanksgiving Day’ and celebrates work achievements by giving thanks for a successful harvest season or other accomplishments.
It is also a reminder to be thankful for all that you have, as well as an opportunity to get together with family and friends, express your gratitude and share quality time with those you love.
These are just some of the interesting facts about Thanksgiving that everyone should know. Celebrating the holiday does not only mean indulging in delicious food – it is also about appreciating what we have and feeling grateful for these blessings. So this year, take a moment to reflect on the things that you are thankful for!
Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂