There are some things about “Thanksgiving” that all of us know. We all know that it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a family tradition that is widely celebrated by Americans. And it is also lovingly called the “Turkey Day”! And like the many traditions that surround this day; there are also many legends, myths, and mysteries that are part of this national holiday!
While most Americans attribute the beginnings of Thanksgiving to the Pilgrims, there are also other stories that credit many other events or people for this now nationally-celebrated holiday. Did you know that there is a marker in Texas that refers to a “Feast of the First Thanksgiving” and is dated 1541! Well, here are some more surprising and amazing facts!
The officially accepted Thanksgiving was attended by 52 pilgrims in the year 1621, and is believed to have lasted for three days. It is also believed that 50 Native Americans participated in the first Thanksgiving. It was started as a secular event and was not intended as a repetitive celebration.
Food is an integral part of any Thanksgiving. The present day celebrations have turkey, pumpkins, cranberry sauce, mashed or sweet potatoes and cornbread as a major part of the dinner feast. Did you know what food was shared during the first Thanksgiving? The first feast comprised of corn, barley and venison, and fowl such as waterfowl and wild turkey!
There is no Thanksgiving without turkey; in fact, 46 million turkeys are consumed on this day alone! In other words, one-fifth of the total annual production of turkey is consumed on this day!!
Pumpkin pie is the most popular dessert during Thanksgiving. But did you know that the world’s largest pie was baked by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers of Ohio? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the pie weighed 3,699 pounds and had a 20-feet diameter. This record, in 2010, broke their own previous record of 2005 in which they baked a 2,020 pound pie!
‘Turkey Day’ is not just a national celebration but is also the reason behind the name of some towns in the US. These are Turkey in Texas, Turkey in North Carolina, and Turkey Creek in Louisiana.
Thanksgiving is all about family and sharing dinner with them. This has become one of the biggest family traditions in the US. With today’s nuclear family set-up, this means many people travel to get together for Thanksgiving. Therefore, it would come as no surprise that this is also the busiest “travel day” in the year!
Thanksgiving is not all about stuffed turkey. The ‘vegan’ trend seems to have caught on and people are also serving ‘vegetarian’ turkey. Well, if you have not already guessed, it is made of tofu!
You would have heard of the traditional ‘pardon’ where the US President pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey; but did you know when and by whom this ceremony was started? Although many sources erroneously credit it to President Harry Truman, it was started as a presidential ceremony by George H. W. Bush in the year 1989 and continues to this day.
The Thanksgiving Parade is another significant event during this holiday and the streets overflow with people and giant balloons. And there is only one character which has had the honor of being the most appeared in these parades – our very own “Snoopy”!
Every year the US President declares the national day of Thanksgiving! But, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving in November. The Canadians have their own version of this celebration, which falls in October.