Let’s demystify Thanksgiving with an amazing array of facts:
1. In a gesture to commemorate the safe passage across the Atlantic the year prior and to give spiritual thanks for surviving one year on the new continent, the Pilgrims celebrated with a feast in the autumn of 1621.
2. The Wamponoag Indians forged a friendship with the Pilgrims; teaching the Europeans how to cultivate and live off the land. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford shows his appreciation by inviting the Wamponoag to their celebration.
The Indians RSVP immediately, arrived early and stayed late.
3. The original Thanksgiving feast lasted three days. The feast ceased to become known as a celebration and officially became a part-tay!
There were no leftovers.
4. The Pilgrims supplied the beer. (The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better have decided to refrain from inserting a culturally insensitive joke at this time).
5. President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1789, and later, in 1795.
6. In 1817, the state of New York officially made Thanksgiving into an annual custom.
7. Abraham Lincoln, not to be outdone by Washington, issued his own Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1863. This officially set aside the last Thursday of November as a National Holiday for Thanksgiving.
8. Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Thanksgiving holiday to the THIRD Thursday of November in an effort to expand the Christmas shopping season and do some economic stimulation. Congress has since moved the holiday back to Lincoln’s proclamation.
9. The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. They then emigrate to the US and celebrate OUR Thanksgiving, too. This is a blatant double-dipping of partying. Sneaky, Canucks.
10. Benjamin Franklin lobbied for the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. He was ardently opposed by Thomas Jefferson. It is believed that Franklin perpetuated the term “tom” when referring to a male turkey, a stealthy rebuttal to Jefferson’s opposition. The term still exists today.
11. Almost 88% of Americans said that they eat turkey during Thanksgiving. It has been estimated that 46 million turkeys– one-fifth of the annual consumption total– are eaten during Thanksgiving.
12. Cranberries are one of three fruits that are completely indigenous to American soil. The blueberry and the Concord grape are the others.
Cap’n Crunch Berries, while unique to the US, do not count.
13. The Detroit Lions have played a football game during every Thanksgiving since 1934 (except during World War II). The first televised “Turkey Bowl” game was in 1956.
14. It is estimated that 38.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or greater from home during the Thanksgiving holiday.
15. Now go out and share your gluttony of new found knowledge to your friends and relatives during Thanksgiving!
Happy Turkey Day!