Talking Turkey – Facts About Thanksgiving

Talking Turkey – Facts About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

  • The pilgrims did NOT have the first Thanksgiving as we know it.  In fact, Puritans gave thanks by fasting.  The harvest festival with the Pilgrims was to celebrate having enough food not to starve that winter.  The primary foods were corn and eel, though the native Americans also brought in venison, which was the height of the feast.  It was much later that Americans decided this early feast should be called the “first Thanksgiving.”
  • The association between Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims had been suggested as early as 1841 when Alexander Young identified the 1621 harvest celebration as the “first Thanksgiving” in New England, but their importance among the holiday’s symbols did not occur until after 1900. It was then that the familiar illustrations of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down to dinner in peace and concord appeared widely in calendar art and on patriotic murals.
  • The pilgrims did not want to go to Plymouth Rock.  They stopped there because they ran out of beer.  Beer was a great way to boil and preserve water and provide nutrition and calories.
  • Squanto, the native that helped them, had lived in England as a slave and returned to America.  He spoke English and knew their ways, so he was a natural go-between.Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  • Thanksgiving was a National Day of Prayer – hence, the Giving of Thanks to God
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.  It was, in part, a celebration of the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg that early July.
  • The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  • In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.

Fun Facts about Thanksgiving Today

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  • In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.
  • Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
  • Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
  • Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
  • Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.

Fun Turkey Facts

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  • The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
  • The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.
  • Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
  • Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
  • Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clucking noise.
  • Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
  • Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
  • A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
  • Turkeys have poor night vision.
  • It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.
  • A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.
  • Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

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One response to “Talking Turkey – Facts About Thanksgiving

  1. Pingback: A History of Thanksgiving in 3 Minutes | Past & Present

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