Delicious and mouthwatering turkey, wine and amazing food – remember something? Yes, that’s Thanksgiving we are talking about. People in USA, Canada, Liberia and a few Caribbean Islands celebrate this day as a National Holiday. People celebrate, people feast and people pray…But, not many people are aware of some of the most fascinating facts about this holiday. In this article on Thanksgiving facts, we are going to share some interesting and weird facts about this holiday. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready for 25 awesome facts about Thanksgiving.
Awesome Thanksgiving Facts: 1-12
1. The very first time Thanksgiving started was in the year 1621. Only half of the pilgrims survived while sailing on Mayflower. They celebrated Thanksgiving because they were grateful to be alive.
2. The pilgrims celebrated the Thanksgiving with the Wampanoag Indians. It was a three-day feast but not just one day.
3. George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation in the year 1789 and then in the year 1795.
4. Americans have to thank Sarah Josepha Hale who struggled from 1827 to make Thanksgiving a national event and to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday for Americans. She even wrote the rhyme “Mary had a little lamb.” She was called as “Mother of Thanksgiving.”
5. In 1863, 3rd October Abe Lincoln fulfilled her dream. He officially declared that every fourth Thursday of November would be considered as the Thanksgiving Day.
6. However, it should be mentioned that before Abe Lincoln, every president used to proclaim a day for Thanksgiving annually.
7. A problem showed up in 1933 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. That year, November had 5 Thursdays. So, small retailers who wanted to benefit more from oncoming Christmas shopping spree, asked Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving one week up so that there are more days for shopping. Roosevelt did not agree to this and people ended up eating their turkey on the last Thursday of the month.
8. Roosevelt was in office for quite long. Long enough to reach 1939 when it was another year with 5 Thursdays. This time again, the retailers made the same demand.
9. Christmas shopping starts the day after the Thanksgiving Day that is on Friday. That Friday is called Black Friday. To take an advantage of this custom the president F.D. Roosevelt made third Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving Day in 1939 to make shopping season last longer and with this he thought that even people will buy more. He did this to increase economy.
10. Many states did not agree and people there celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday (that is the 5th Thursday). Many others relished Turkey on the 4th Thursday, that is a week ahead of others.
11. At last in 1941, on 26th December, the Congress declared that the holiday for Thanksgiving Day was to be celebrated only and only on 4th Thursday of every November.
12. If you think only Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day, then you are thinking wrong. Even Canadians celebrate but before their American counterparts. They celebrate Thanksgiving Day on second Monday of October every year.
Awesome Thanksgiving Facts: 13-25
13. The popular song for Christmas “Jingle Bells” was actually written for Thanksgiving but not for Christmas. The song was composed by James Pierpont in 1857 and was called as “One Horse Open Sleigh.”
14. Turkey is an integral part of the Thanksgiving Day now. But no one is sure whether turkey was used in the first Thanksgiving or not.
15. Did you know that the first Thanksgiving was actually a fast but not a feast? Yes, the survivors of the Mayflower decided that they would pray and fast to celebrate their first harvest but plans changed from fast to feast with the arrival of Wampanoag Indians. They turned Thanksgiving into a three-day feast.
16. A custom that is followed by American President is that he pardons one turkey from being served on the plate on the Thanksgiving dinner. It was started by President Truman in 1947.
17. Ever wondered what is the relation between football and Thanksgiving? In the year 1920 NFL initiated the Thanksgiving Classic games. Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys hosted games on Thanksgiving Day. From then football and Thanksgiving have become synonymous.
18. In 1981, a hotline was started by Butterball. It was called Turkey Talk-line Hotline. People who had questions regarding how to cook the turkey could call and clarify their doubts. Only 6 home economists answered the phones the first time it started and only 11,000 calls were answered. But now they answer around 1,00,000 calls each year and there are other options like live chat, Spanish-speakers, email, texting, first male Turkey Talk-line expert etc.
19. Did you know that there is something called as an “Unthanksgiving Day”, which is celebrated in Alcatraz since 1975? It is celebrated to remember the survival of Native Americans after the Europeans arrived and settled in America.
20. The people who live in Virgin Islands celebrate two Thanksgivings. The first being the normal Thanksgiving but the second one is the Hurricane Thanksgiving Day. If there are no hurricanes in that year people celebrate Hurricane Thanksgiving Day on October 19 as they have been spared.
21. Even before the pilgrims could reach the Plymouth rock, the native Hawaiians celebrated the Thanksgiving which was called Makahiki. It was not for a day, they celebrated Thanksgiving for 4 months! In those four months, no one was allowed to work or wage a war.
22. While the earliest Thanksgiving of Americans can be traced back to 1621, for Canadians the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the year 1578. Martin Frobisher celebrated Thanksgiving in Newfoundland for arriving safely to the New World.
23. In 1879, for Canada, the Thanksgiving date was set on November 6 but it continued to change. In 1957, it was declared that the Thanksgiving Day would be on second Monday of October every year.
24. The cranberries that are a staple food in the Thanksgiving was never used as food by the native Americans. They however used cranberries to treat wounds caused by arrows and to dye their clothes.
25. Not all states were happy to accept Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Some states considered that government is controlling commoner’s life way too much and southern states weren’t that happy because Thanksgiving is largely considered as a New England practice.