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History of Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2012

History of Thanksgiving

We were all taught in grammar school about the plight of the Pilgrims in England, and how they fled to the New World.  We were told they landed on Plymouth Rock, and the Wampanoag tribe helped them through the first hard winter.  The pilgrims held a feast to thank the tribe.

But here’s some interesting facts you may not know.

Ok, On to the Trivia

  • The first Thanksgiving feast was held after the harvest in the year 1621
  • The Wampanoag and the Pilgrims lived in peace for fifty years and had many negotiated compacts.
  • A second feast was held July 30, 1623 in thanks giving for 14 days of rain that increased the harvest.
  • President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26, and it’s been observed every year since 1863.
  • Squanto was actually a a Patuxet Native American who lived with the Wampanoag.  He had been captured and turned into a slave in Europe for a time where he learned English.  This enabled him to be the translator for the Pilgrims.
  • In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be officially the fourth Thursday in the month of November.  Once upon a time, it was considered improper to advertise Christmas presents before Thanksgiving, and FDR wanted to boost the economy and provide more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Congress passed a joint resolution fixing Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November on October 6, 1941.
  • The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest day for travel with most people traveling on Wednesday after work.
  • Since 1924, Macy’s has hosted the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • There will be three new balloons this year: Hello Kitty, Papa Smurf, and the Elf on the Shelf.
  • The Detroit Lions have hosted a football game every years since 1934 with the exception of 1939-1944 (WWII).
  • The Dallas Cowboys started hosting a football game every year since 1966.

Food Trivia

  • Cranberries, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and sweet corn were all native to the New World, and were probably included in the feast.  Turkeys had been brought back to the Old World by the Spaniards and were considered to be an alternative to goose for the Christmas feast.
  • What we call sweet potatoes are not really yams even though we use the names interchangeably. The sweet potato is found in tropical America and is a part of the Morning Glory family. The yam is a tuber (a bulb) of a tropical vine found in Central & South America, as well as the West Indies, Africa and Asia.
  •  The triptophan in the turkey isn’t what makes you sleepy.  It’s the amount of food you eat that makes you nod off.

And the day after is called Black Friday where many people go out shopping.  You can read our blog post on planning for Black Friday here.

And finally, if you get stuck, the Butterball hotline will be open to help you through cooking.

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