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Thanksgiving Day Facts to Gobble Up – 2012!

Posted on: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Most kids in America learn about Thanksgiving both at home and at school.  They learn about the pilgrims, the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock and turkey.  For this week’s blog I’ve listed some lesser known facts about Thanksgiving.  I hope that you and the kids find them interesting and, most of all, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving

  • In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Minnesota is the United States’ top turkey-producing state, followed by North Carolina.
  • U.S. farmers will produce 735 million pounds of cranberries, which, like turkeys, are native to the Americas.
  • The U.S. will also grow 1.9 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.
  • The first Thanksgiving dinner in the Plymouth Colony in October 1621, was attended by some 50 English colonists and about 90 Wampanoag American Indian men in what is now Massachusetts.
  • The Wampanoag killed five deer for the feast, and that the colonists shot wild fowl—which may have been geese, ducks, or turkey. Some form, or forms, of Indian corn were also served.
  • It’s the 1621 Plymouth Thanksgiving that’s linked to the birth of our modern holiday.
  • But it wasn’t even a Thanksgiving, which in the 17th century was a day of fasting.  It was a harvest celebration.
  • Everything we know about the three-day Plymouth gathering comes from a description in a letter written by Edward Winslow, leader of the Plymouth Colony, in 1621.
  • The truth is the first “real” Thanksgiving happened two centuries later.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  • The letter had been lost for 200 years and was rediscovered in the 1800s, In 1841 Boston publisher Alexander Young printed Winslow’s brief account of the feast and added his own twist, dubbing the 1621 feast the “First Thanksgiving.”
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving Day 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 in 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  • In 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt established the current date for observance, the fourth Thursday of November.
  • Each year at least two lucky turkeys avoid the dinner table, thanks to a presidential pardon—a longstanding Washington tradition believed to have originated with U.S. President Harry Truman.
  • This year’s birds will live out their days at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

Other Trivia you may gobble up

  • The First Thanksgiving was only eaten with Spoons and Knives.
  • The best way to check if a Cranberry is ripe is to bounce it.
  • For many U.S. citizens, Thanksgiving without football is as unthinkable as the Fourth of July without fireworks.
  • NBC Radio broadcast the first national Thanksgiving Day game in 1934, when the Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was originally called the Macy’s Christmas parade, because it kicked off the shopping season.
  • The tradition began in 1924, when employees recruited animals from the Central Park Zoo to march on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Helium-filled balloons made their debut in the parade in 1927 and, in the early years, were released above the city skyline with the promise of rewards for their finders.
  • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, first televised nationally in 1947, now draws some 44 million viewers—not counting the 3 million people who actually line the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) Manhattan route.
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