Each year, families all around America celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and you might think you have a pretty solid idea of where the tradition comes from. We’ve found a collection of 13 unique Thanksgiving facts you can use to test your knowledge of this late autumn holiday.
- Will the First Site of Thanksgiving Please Stand Up? While most of us learn that the first official Thanksgiving gathering took place in 1621 at the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, other states such as Texas, Florida, Maine and Virginia have laid claim to the first official Thanksgiving.
- A Fowl Regret for Franklin. So consumed with passion for the turkey and its respectable stature, Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey become the United States’ national bird. However, the bald eagle, which Franklin thought had a “bad moral character” won out.
- Thanksgiving Finally Declared An Official Holiday After Only 320 Years. In 1941, congress finally declared Thanksgiving a nationally observed holiday, celebrated the fourth Thursday of November.
- Jefferson Declared Thanksgiving “Ridiculous.” If President Jefferson had his way, he would have eradicated such a foolish tradition as a federally recognized Thanksgiving in its tracks. Benjamin Franklin apparently dubbed the male turkey “Tom” to rib President Jefferson for his disdain for the holiday.
- Turkeys Are Truly Native to the Land. According to fossil evidence, turkeys have roamed throughout the land for over 10 million years.
- Stuff It! Or Not. Surprisingly, reports indicate that only 50 percent of Americans put stuffing in their turkeys.
- Thanksgiving as a Depression Era Marketing Tool. In 1939, 1940 and 1941, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November instead of the fourth to extend the holiday shopping season to boost the economy.
- Get Crabby for the Big Day. For those living on the West Coast, crab season begins in early November, and residents choose this as their centerpiece dish instead of turkey.
- Passing the Pigskin after Partaking in Turkey. Americans love Thanksgiving Day football games. Fans and non-fans can thank the Yale and Princeton Universities for starting this tradition.
- The Original Thanksgiving Day Parade. While most Americans might think the Macy’s Parade is the original, it is not so. The first Thanksgiving Day parade took place in Philadelphia for Gimbel’s department store in 1920.
- Turkeys have heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.
- The First Attendees to the First Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians broke bread together for that first Thanksgiving, and the feast lasted for three days.
- Thanksgiving Once Had a Song. “Jingle Bells” was originally an ode to Thanksgiving composed by James Pierpont for the children to sing in his Boston Sunday School.
If you would rather leave the Thanksgiving Day Menu to professionals and take a mini-vacation for the holiday, consider taking a trip to Stonehurst Manor in North Conway, NH.