Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.
Here are some fun facts about this special holiday:
- The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians and lasted three days.
- 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
- Thanksgiving is the reason for TV dinners! In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey (260 tons) that a salesman told them they should package it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes — and the first TV dinner was invented
- Presidential pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey pardon ceremony started with President Truman in 1947. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who has flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade!
- Why is Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November? President Abe Lincoln said Thanksgiving would be the fourth Thursday in November, but in 1939 President Roosevelt moved it up a week hoping it would help the shopping season during the Depression era. It never caught on and it was changed back two years later.
- How did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving start? The NFL started the Thanksgiving Classic games in 1920 and since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Turkey Day. In 2006, a third game was added with different teams hosting
- About 90 % of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day
- The ‘wishbone’ of the turkey is used in a good luck ritual on Thanksgiving Day.
Contest: First au pair in Christine and Lisa’s cluster to respond (via email or Facebook) with an answer to this will win a Starbucks gift card. What food are you most looking forward to trying for Thanksgiving? Contest Closed – Congratulations to our winner, Celine M.
Photo: Tim Sackton