Thanksgiving is next week, which means unlimited turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy (and don’t forget the desserts!). While you’re sitting around shooting the breeze with your family between meals, you can shell out these interesting Thanksgiving facts:
- Although the “First Thanksgiving” was in 1621 (it lasted three days!), it didn’t become a national holiday until 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.
- Unlike on your family’s table, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, apples, pears, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberry sauce were not present at the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth.
- The first Thanksgiving wasn’t really Thanksgiving as we now know it. Thanksgiving was a religious festival affair where Pilgrims would spend all day praying. Thanksgiving was also observed at different times of the year, not just on Thanksgiving. Also, if it were a true Thanksgiving, the Natives wouldn’t have been invited. The “First Thanksgiving” was actually a feast to celebrate a great harvest! A party, in a sense.
- Contrary to how they’re depicted, Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving didn’t wear black and white with buckled shoes and hats. In fact, they wore very colorful dresses and suits.
- The Pilgrims’ plan was to settle in the New York area via the Hudson River, but a series of storms caused the boat to sail off course and that’s how they ended up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
- Sarah Josepha Hale is credited with the push to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She devoted her entire life to campaigning for it. (Sarah Josepha Hale also wrote the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.)
- Roto-Rooter says the busiest day out of the year for plumbers is Black Friday. We’ll let you guess why.
- Turkeys got their name from the country… sort of. There’s a bird indigenous to Africa called guineafowl that was introduced to Europe via Turkish merchants. Guineafowl were popular in Europe. When the Spaniards came to America, they saw a bird that tasted like and resembled those guineafowl, so they called the bird a turkey.
- A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.
Wish you could have someone else do all the Thanksgiving cooking and cleaning this year? Some state parks are hosting delicious turkey dinners, so bring the whole family!