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Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
Turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie will be in your belly before you know it. And Snoopy will be flying high in the Thanksgiving Day parade.
The origins of Thanksgiving are a little murky. Consistently, we are taught about the three-day feast between the pilgrims and Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe in 1621.
Although some might disagree that was the first Thanksgiving. But more on that in a minute. While you may remember being taught a happy story about Thanksgiving, the true story of that 1621 feast are quite dark and was quite unlike anything we celebrate today.
Instead of stealing land, bringing diseases and starting wars, we watch football, enjoy a parade and eat our hearts out. Then we shop ’til we drop.
Here are some other interesting facts you maybe didn’t know about Thanksgiving.
Fun Thanksgiving Facts
- Each year, Americans devour more than 45 million turkeys.
- That equates to about 720 million pounds of turkey.
- The tryptophan in the turkey is NOT the reason you’re sleepy. Instead, it’s the fact that you overate.
- The largest pumpkin pie weighed 3,699 pounds and was made in Ohio in 2010.
- Minnesota, Arkansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia and Missouri account for 69% of all turkeys produced in the U.S.
- The state of Minnesota is projected to raise 39 million turkeys in 2020.
- The average price for a frozen whole turkey is $1.50 per pound.
- Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.
- The Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that started in 1934.
- Since 1966, the Dallas Cowboys have joined in on that tradition.
- Thanksgiving leftovers were the inspiration behind the first-ever TV dinner after Swanson had 260 tons of turkey leftover.
- “Franksgiving” refers to 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week. Everything went back to normal in 1941.
- The Turkey Talk Line offered by Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-related questions every year.
- There are 4 towns in the U.S. named Turkey.
- The Macy’s Parade began in 1924 and was named the Christmas Day parade.
- The parade has been verified as the largest inflatable parade by the Guinness World Records.
- Sarah Josepha Hale wrote letters for 17 years trying to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.
- Hale convinced Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
- Every year, bars experience a boom in sales the night before Thanksgiving.
- The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers.
- That’s why Roto-Rooter calls it Brown Friday.
- The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was a three-day celebration.
- Turkey hasn’t always the main dish on Thanksgiving.
- Historians have said anything from ducks, geese and swans to eels and shellfish were probably consumed at the first Thanksgiving.
- Speaking of the first Thanksgiving, the 1621 Plymouth one isn’t the only one accredited for having the first feast.
- Feasts in 1565, 1619, 1623, and 1637 also receive credit for being the true first Thanksgiving.
- In 2011, 661 people showed up to the YMCA Turkey Trot in Dallas dressed as turkeys for the Guinness World Record.
- Every year, the president of the United States pardons a turkey, a tradition that became official in 1989.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Census Bureau
Guinness World Records