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Calendar >  Thanksgiving Facts & Trivia For Your Day of Celebration Even In A COVID World

Thanksgiving Facts & Trivia For Your Day of Celebration Even In A COVID World

By   /  November 24, 2020  /  No Comments


TR Robertson — Thanksgiving will soon be here whether we are ready for it or not.. Here are some fun facts and trivia about this day you can share with whomever you celebrate this day with. These are also some fun bits of information to share as you gather around the table and you might even want to make a game out of the information.  Because of COVID, many of the events listed may not be held this year, but if not, it will give you an idea of what normally traditionally happens and hopefully will return for this special day. Print this out and share. Have a Happy and Joyous Thanksgiving.

  • We traditionally say the first Thanksgiving was in 1621, sometime between September and November, in Plymouth Rock, Mass.
  • Governor William Bradford declared a 3-day celebration.
  • It is thought that 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Wampanoag Indians shared a meal which might have included eel, mussels, fish, goose, swan, seal, duck, deer, and some vegetables.
  • It is also thought corn was not introduced until later.
  • There is a possibility wild turkey was available for the meal
  • At Plymouth Rock today, interested guests can sign up to participate in a traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration with some of the original foods thought to have been served prepared for the meal.
  • Some claim the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1598, by Spanish explorer Juan de Onate, after a rigorous expedition through Mexico to what is now Texas.
  • President George Washington, in 1789, declared a National celebration of Thanksgiving.
  • In 1863, Abraham Lincoln, encouraged by Sarah Josepha Hale who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, proclaimed Thanksgiving as an official holiday and specified the date to be the last Thursday in November.
  • Abraham Lincoln also unofficially spared a turkey, named Jack, from being butchered.
  • Since 1947, the National Turkey Foundation has gifted a live turkey and 2 butchered turkeys to the White House.
  • J.F.K. made the 1st official pardon of a turkey on Thanksgiving in 1963.
  • In 1989, President George H.W. Bush began the 1st official Presidential Pardon of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
  • President Trump pardoned 2 turkeys on Thanksgiving in 2018, named Peas and Carrots.
  • The Marcy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been going on since 1924.
  • In 1927 the first floats appeared with large balloons.
  • The first balloon was Felix the Cat.
  • A Mickey Mouse balloon would appear in 1934.
  • The first professional football game held on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934 between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears, won by Chicago.
  • Detroit has played the most games on Thanksgiving.
  • In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys began playing on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Normally, on television, there will be professional football, professional basketball, and college football.
  • Americans will eat more food on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.
  • The typical  traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of – Turkey or ham or prime rib, sweet corn, peas, squash, green bean casserole with fried onions, sweet potatoes or yams with marshmallows, corn bread dressing (my mother-in-law loved oyster dressing), veggies for appetizers, Jell-O (red), cranberry sauce (homemade or canned), Waldorf salad, rolls or cornbread and turkey gravy. This does not even count the pies for dessert.
  • Some families make pumpkin soup instead of salad.
  • Waldorf salad first appeared at the Waldrof-Astoria Hotel in 1896 in NYC.
  • Over 45 million turkeys will be sold for Thanksgiving.
  • One new twist for Thanksgiving was the introduction of the Turducken, a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Another addition for some is the frying of the turkey in peanut oil.
  • Pulling the wishbone from the turkey is a popular moment for Thanksgiving. The wishbone is called the furcular and the person getting the bigger piece is said to get their secret wish granted. It must be completely dry before you pull it apart. The tradition goes back to the Roman harvest festivals.
  • Swanson Turkey Dinners were invented due to an overabundance of turkey purchased by Swanson and the invention of an aluminum tray to put the TV dinner in.
  • By 1954, Swanson would sell over 10 million turkey TV dinners as .98 cents a dinner.
  • Becoming sleepy from eating turkey due to tryptophan is a myth. Turkeys have less tryptophan than chicken.
  • People become sleepy after eating due to over-eating, discomfort from overeating and the stress of the Thanksgiving Day.
  • 88% of Americans will have turkey on Thanksgiving, the other 12% enjoy something else.
  • Only male turkeys’ gobble.
  • The heaviest turkey raised on record was 98 pounds.
  • The average turkey weight is 15 pounds.
  • The University of Wisconsin sponsors a Frozen Turkey Bowling contest.
  • Butterball Turkey Talk hot line will receive 100,000 calls on Thanksgiving with turkey preparation questions.
  • San Francisco offers Thanksgiving meals featuring Dungeness Crab.
  • Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the National Bird, not the eagle.
  • Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie recipes, associated with Thanksgiving, began to appear in magazines in the early 1900’s.
  • David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura, makes 19 pies for Thanksgiving, each one a different flavor. Apple Cranberry has become popular.
  • Pumpkin chunking (tossing) is a popular event in the state of Delaware.
  • The largest pumpkin pie on record was 12 feet in diameter.
  • Many families have a Circle of Love before the meal to remember those who have passed
  • Watching the “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special” or the “Great Pumpkin Special” has become a family tradition for many.
  • Many European farming communities celebrate Lammas Day, Festival of the Wheat, and featuring making bread from the 1st wheat of the new harvest.
  • In Ghana they celebrate the Yam Blessing, Homowo, featuring a parade of the large yams, dressing the yams up before cooking the yams.
  • The Santa Barbara Zoo, like many zoos, give some of the animals’ pumpkins as a special treat for the day
  • A Turkey Trot race is a popular event for many cities where people dress in Thanksgiving costumes.
  • At the turn of the 20th century, in England, a day called Ragamuffin Day was held where children dressed in tattered clothing and went around asking “Anything for Thanksgiving?”
  • In 2011, Wild Turkey Whiskey began sponsoring a turkey eating contest, first won by Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas.
  • Broomfield, Colorado, holds an annual pumpkin eating contest.
  • Chuseok, South Korea, holds a harvest festival where people tidy-up the graves of ancestors and they also hold an arm-wrestling contest where the winners win a sack of rice.
  • Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year.
  • San Diego is the 3rd most visited city in the U.S. on Thanksgiving.
  • Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest day of the year for plumbers.
  • Black Friday has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year where people look for the best deals they can find, we bought a refrigerator last year.
  • Saturday is known as Small Business Saturday and Monday is called Cyber Monday for online shopping.
  • There are 4 places in the U.S. names Turkey – Turkey Creek, La., Turkey, Texas, Turkey, N.C., Turkey Creek, Az.

Well, this should keep you busy and give you something to think about on Thanksgiving. To every one of you, have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving and do not forget to wear your stretchy pants for the Thanksgiving meal. Check out the article I wrote on the Thanksgiving meal and what to do with all the turkey leftovers.


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  • Published: 2 months ago on November 24, 2020
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  • Last Modified: November 24, 2020 @ 12:17 am
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