Each year on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—with some updates to pilgrim’s menu.
Thanksgiving has become one of the largest and most loved holidays across the United States. Below are some great facts and traditions that have been adopted over the years (over 500 to be exact!)
- Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
- Americans eat 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving.
- The heaviest turkey on record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, weighs 86 pounds.
- Californians consume the most turkey in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day!
- The average turkey for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds.
- Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who actually wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after writing letters for 17 years campaigning for this to happen.
- No turkey on the menu at the first Thanksgiving: Historians say that no turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving! What was on the menu? Deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. They probably ate pumpkins, but no pumpkin pies. They also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries. And no, Turduckens (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) were nowhere to be found during that first Thanksgiving.
- Presidential pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president of the U.S 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!
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 with 400 employees marching from Convent Ave to 145th street in New York City. No large balloons were at this parade, as it featured only live animals from Central Park Zoo.
Other traditions? Eating as much food as possible and laying around for the rest of the evening. While that food coma is taking over, you are definitely going to need some great furniture to lay on. We have partnered with Blu Dot, a modern furniture company that focuses on affordability for anyone and everyone! Their goal is to bring good design to as many people as possible!
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