Just about everyone knows the history of Thanksgiving but you may not know some of the more unique and interesting facts concerning this holiday. For this Thanksgiving, I want to share with everyone some fun facts I have dug up, so you can sound smart at the Thanksgiving dinner table as you impress family members with interesting, yet useless knowledge. I hope you enjoy!
Most Americans know that the official first Thanksgiving was began by the Mayflower pilgrims and local Native Americans at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The following is the actual source of what we know about that time. It was called “A relation or journall of the beginning & proceedings of the English plantation settled at Plimoth in New England” or Mourt’s Relation. This piece is specifically about that first Thanksgiving:
…our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie. ~ excerpt from Mourt’s Relation by Edward Winslow
Another account of the first Thanksgiving was told several years later by William Bradford in his colonial biography, Of Plymouth Plantation.
President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November in part, due to the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale.
Fun Thanksgiving Facts
42.2 Million – number of Americans who traveled more than 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving in 2010.
248 Million turkeys will be raised in the U.S. this year with Minnesota being the top producer.
20% of the turkey consumed in the U.S. every year, occurs during Thanksgiving.
88% of Americans will eat turkey for Thanksgiving this year.
I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country…The Turkey is a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. ~ Benjamin Franklin
2,020 pounds – weight of the largest pumpkin pie ever made, with a diameter 12 feet long.
1924 – first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was began to signify the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
3 Million – estimated number of people that will attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
750 Million pounds of cranberries were produced in the U.S. this past year and most came from Wisconsin.
37 – number of cities in the U.S. with Plymouth in their name.
4 – number of cities in the U.S. named after the Turkey.
1876 – first Thanksgiving Championship Football game was played, beginning the tradition of football on Thanksgiving. It was Yale versus Princeton with Yale being the victor.