Thanksgiving is a big celebration in the US and takes place on the 26th November this year. Did you know that Americans spend around $2.8 billion every year on food for Thanksgiving? Or that the first “meal on the moon” was roast turkey? Find out all you need to know about Thanksgiving in the US with these 50 fascination facts!
1. The Plymouth pilgrims were the first people to celebrate Thanksgiving and it was organized by Governor William Bradford. (Despite earlier Thanksgiving feasts probably taking place, this is the most-cited and one of the most influential on modern Thanksgiving in the US)
2. At the first Thanksgiving, everyone was probably a bit drunk, including the children. Beer was often considered safer than water and it was served to everyone at meals, including babies.
3. It’s estimated that around 90% of Native Americans were wiped out by diseases such as smallpox even before the pilgrims arrived.
4. When pilgrims landed in North America, the Wampanoag Indians taught them how to cultivate the land.
5. “Squanto”, a Wampanoag, befriended and helped the pilgrims on planting corn, how to fish, and how to gather berries and nuts.
6. Wampanoag means “Easterners” or “People of the Dawn”.
7. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days.
8. Historians believe wild game and vegetables were served at the first Thanksgiving feast.
9. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a public holiday in 1863 after pressure and campaigning from Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote ‘’Mary had a little Lamb’’.
10. The longest Thanksgiving in history lasted four months. It was held in Hawaii and was called “Makahiki”.
11. The first “meal on the moon” was roast turkey.
12. “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song composed by James Pierpont in 1857 for his Sunday school class.
13. There were no forks during the first Thanksgiving; only spoons and knives!
14. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade took place in 1924 in New York. Now 3 million people attend the parade every year while 44 million watch on T.V.
15. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving too, on the first Monday in October. The first Canadian Thanksgiving is often attributed to the explorer Martin Frobisher back in 1578.
16. The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York is the world’s largest inflatable parade.
17. More alcohol is consumed on this holiday than at any other time in the US.
18. The Virgin Islands celebrate traditional Thanksgiving Day but also “Hurricane Thanksgiving Day” every October 19th if there have been no hurricanes.
19. The National Football League held the first Thanksgiving Classic Games in 1920.
20. Thanksgiving Day is the busiest travel day in the year in the US.
21. Other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving include Germany, Grenada, Korea, and Norfolk Island.
22. The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest day for bar sales in the US.
23. Snoopy has appeared in the Macy’s Parade more than any other character in history.
24. “Un-thanksgiving Day” is celebrated at Alcatraz Island every year, commemorating the survival of Native Americans following the arrival of European settlers.
25. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called ‘’Black Friday’’ and is the biggest sale day for retailers. The name comes from the idea that the sales will take them out of the red and back into profit.
26. Around three quarters of Americans serve store-bought cranberry sauce vs homemade.
27. Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce each holiday season; the equivalent of more than 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
28. Americans spend about $8 billion each year on holiday staples for the feast.
29. Approx 2.4 billion lb: The weight of sweet potatoes made by major sweet potato producing states in 2014.
30. “Turducken” is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken and is becoming a popular dish for Thanksgiving.
31. More than 40 million bean casseroles are served during Thanksgiving.
32. Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York are the top pumpkin-growing states.
33. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was 3,699 lb and over 20 ft. in diameter.
34. Around 46 million turkeys are consumed during Thanksgiving, with the average Turkey weighing 16 lb.
35. The largest man-made turkey is in Frazee, Minnesota. “Big Tom” weighs over 5,000 lb.
36. Butterball, a brand of Turkey, opened a Turkey Talk-Line nearly 30 years ago with 6 home economists answering questions from 11,000 phone calls in its first year.
37. The largest gathering of people dressed as Turkeys is 661 and was accomplished at the annual Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot in Dallas, Texas, in November 2011.
38. The world’s heaviest turkey (ever recorded) weighed 86 lbs. (39.09kg).
39. There are four places in the US named Turkey: Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; Turkey Creek, Arizona, and Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot in Pennsylvania!
40. Commercially raised Turkeys cannot fly!
41. A large group of turkeys is called a “flock”.
42. Turkeys sometimes suffer and die from heart attacks.
43. The state of California consumes the most turkey.
44. Each year, the US president pardons a turkey to spare it from being eaten at Thanksgiving dinner.
45. Females turkeys do not ‘’gobble’’. It’s only the males.
46. Around 88% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.
45. Thanksgiving is responsible for T.V. dinners. In 1953, Swanson began creating them to sell a large surplus of frozen turkeys they had leftover.
46. Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in the US.
47. If it was up to Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of US, the turkey would be the national symbol instead of the eagle.
48. In the 1930s, hunters had almost decimated the population of wild turkeys, but thankfully their numbers increased after the introduction of hunting regulations and conservation efforts.