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Strange Facts About Thanksgiving

Published by desertsister in History
November 3rd, 2008

Really interesting historical trivia about the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Strange Facts and Interesting Trivia about Thanksgiving

How much do you know about the American Holiday and Tradition of Thanksgiving? I know you think it was a big meal shared by the pilgrims and the Native Americans….right? Here are some weird and slightly known facts about Thanksgiving!

  1. Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the United States. False, Canada also celebrates a Canadian Thanksgiving the 2nd Monday of October.
  2. The first American Company to sponsor a Thanksgiving Day Parade was Gimbel’s Department Stores. The parade first took place in 1920 in the city of Philadelphia, Pa.
  3. Do you know which tribe of Native Americans ate the first Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims? Probably not! It was the Wampanoag tribe
  4. The ship that landed at Plymouth Rock with the first group of Pilgrims who came to settle in the new land was called the Mayflower, but do you know who her captain was? Probably not! He was Captain Christopher Jones
  5. The editor of the women’s magazine “The Godey’s Lady’s Book” is said to have bugged Congress for years with letters and messages to various members concerning establishing a National Holiday called Thanksgiving in honor of all the blessings that flowed from the Pilgrim settlers establishment of a new way of life. Her name was Sarah Hale and she stayed true to her mission until President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving. It was not until President Franklin Roosevelt that a bill actually was signed making it a National Holiday in the 1940’s.
  6. The word turkey can be sourced to the word Hebrew word “Tukki”, which means “big bird or pheasant type bird”
  7. Here’s a strange piece of trivia concerning the Pilgrims (or Puritans as they were also known). They brought barrels of beer with them on their voyage to the new world!
  8. Indian Corn…..the colored ears of corn seen hanging from many doorways during the Fall is for decoration only and should not be eaten. This is True.
  9. Do you know what year the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began? 1924
  10. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday it is a Fall celebration holiday that sets aside special time for family and the blessings of freedom in a new land for all people who come here to live free
  11. History states that only 5 women Pilgrims survived the first year at the Plymouth settlement and they were the first ones to cook and prepare the first meager celebration meal, in 1621. Journals say the celebration lasted 3 days!
  12. Did you know it is a Presidential Tradition that started with President Truman in 1947, to pardon a turkey each year and send it to a public farm named Frying Pan Park, in Herndon, Va
  13. The test for the perfect time to harvest cranberries is to pick one and bounce it on the ground. If it bounces 4 inches up in the air the crop is at the best stage for harvest!
  14. The travel industry says the busiest travel day of the entire year is the day after Thanksgiving
  15. History recounts that the Pilgrims really didn’t wear funny hats we see on them in re-enactments
  16. The Pilgrims ate their first dinner with only spoons and knives
  17. Only 50 of the 102 original Pilgrims survived to participate in the first Thanksgiving, so accounts tell us
  18. The Mayflower was not built to transport people. Originally it was built to be a wine transport ship.
  19. The present Plymouth Rock is only the size of a car engine and has cracked 3 times since the Pilgrims first landed

Last but not least, for all the sports fans. Do you know when and what team started the traditional Thanksgiving Day Football game? It was the Detroit Lions in 1934.

Oh and remember as you eat that piece of Pumpkin Pie, the Pilgrims didn’t serve Pumpkin Pie in 1621….it is a fairly modern addition to the tradition of Thanksgiving!

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2 Comments
  1. JD
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    #8 is false. Indian or flint corn is edible.#12 is also false. George H.W. Bush started the tradition of pardoning the turkey in 1989.

    Probably should fact check before posting.

  2. Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    #12. is correct look it up in White House History on the American Presidential History website!!!!!!!

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