In just two weeks’ time, families all across the United States will get together to feast on turkey, to watch the football game and to give thanks for the blessings from the year past.
With this day to give thanks quickly approaching again, it’s a good time to brush up on how this tradition started, and what makes this cultural celebration so unique!
Dazzle your guests this Thanksgiving with these 20 Thanksgiving facts that will keep the conversation flowing all day.
The First Thanksgiving
- In 1621, 140 Pilgrims and Indians gathered together to celebrate the first thanksgiving. Only five women were in attendance due to the low survival rate among the Pilgrim women at this time.
- No turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving
- Forks were not used at the first Thanksgiving, since they hadn’t been introduced to the Pilgrims yet
- Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday for more than 200 years
- The writer of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned President Lincoln to inaugurate Thanksgiving as a national holiday
- Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as taking place on the fourth Thursday of November but President Roosevelt moved it up a week. Roosevelt’s change was unpopular so it was changed back.
- The average Thanksgiving turkey weighs around 15 pounds
- California consumes more turkey than any other state in the U.S., while Minnesota produces the most
- As part of tradition, every year since 1947, the President of the United States pardons a single turkey who is spared from being on a Thanksgiving table
- 235 million turkeys are consumed each year in the U.S., with 46 million of those consumed at Thanksgiving alone
- Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong ate roasted turkey on the moon
- The world’s biggest turkey weighed 86 pounds
- According to a national survey, 88% of Americans confessed to eating turkey at Thanksgiving
- The U.S. has three towns named after the iconic Thanksgiving food – Turkey in Texas, Los Angeles and North Carolina
- The average person consumed 4,500 calories throughout the day at Thanksgiving. It would take six-seven hours of moderate exercise to burn off these excess calories
Modern Day Thanksgiving
- Green Bean Casserole was invented by Campbells for a cookbook in the 1950s
- Over 42 million Americans travel during Thanksgiving weekend
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade started in 1924 when 400 employees marched with live animals from Central Park Zoo. Today 3 million people attend the parade and 44 million watch it on television
- V. Dinners were invented from leftover Thanksgiving Turkey that was packaged into aluminium trays with vegetables
- The first Thanksgiving football game was in 1920. Since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Thanksgiving