Americans cherish Thanksgiving celebrations surrounding the fourth Thursday of every November. Here are five fun facts you can use to impress friends and family around the Thanksgiving table.
Facts about Thanksgiving
- Benjamin Franklin lobbied to have turkey replace the eagle as our national bird. Arguing that the wild turkey was a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States, Benjamin Franklin said the turkey was “a true original native of America” and “a bird of courage.”
- The first TV dinner was Thanksgiving leftovers. In 1953, Swanson found itself with 260 tons of frozen turkeys after the Thanksgiving holiday. Inspired by pre-packaged airline food, a visionary salesman ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, established an assembly line of workers and created the original TV dinner which included turkey, dressing, peas
and sweet potatoes.
- Thanksgiving was meant to be a fast, not a feast. Plymouth Rock’s devout settlers typically gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food. But legend has it that the Wampanoag Indians, who joined the Pilgrims for their celebration, introduced their harvest traditions of dancing, games and feasting.
- Thanksgiving hasn’t always been a recognized holiday. While the first Thanksgiving celebration was held in 1621, it was more than 150 years before all 13 colonies celebrated the holiday simultaneously in October of 1777. After President Roosevelt tried to move up the date by one week in 1939, Congress adopted a resolution setting the legal holiday as the fourth Thursday of November.
- There is debate as to which president first pardoned a turkey. Some attribute the annual tradition of pardoning a turkey to President Harry Truman. While John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon spared turkeys presented to the White House, the annual pardoning of a turkey wasn’t a formal tradition until George H.W. Bush was in office.
Whether you spend your time cooking, eating, watching football or partaking in Black Friday shopping (or all of the above), we wish you a wonderful holiday. Remember to take time to express gratitude for all of life’s gifts. Focus on the positive and seize the opportunities ahead. In the spirit of the holiday, we wish you a bountiful day, a fun weekend and a joyous and peaceful season of the year.