Thanksgiving is loved by historians because it is a holiday that we celebrate that is actually celebrated in nearly the same way that it began. Here are some interesting facts about Thanksgiving to get you started off on the right foot:
1. The first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony in 1621, but it wasn't until more than 200 years later, that President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day became an official national holiday in 1941.
2. In 1939 President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third week in November, hoping it would boost the shopping season during the Depression. It never caught on and was changed back two years later.
3. The first Thanksgiving was eaten with spoons and knives — but no forks! Forks weren't even introduced to the Pilgrims until 10 years later and weren't a popular utensil until the 18th century.
4. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle. (He was a brilliant man, but I'm glad we didn't take his advise on this one)
5. Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas 10 million years ago.
6. A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. They can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.
7. The Guinness World Records for the largest pumpkin pie, weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. Baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust. :O
8. Female turkeys (hens) do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble.
9. Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade—to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season—the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.
10. Thanksgiving was almost a fast — not a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is what they planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and turned their fast into a three-day feast! That is definitely something to give thanks for!
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