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5 things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving

Nov 20 2013 at 10:08 am by

Give thanks

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays around: you get to eat a lot, be lazy, and hang out with family and friends without feeling obliged to buy them expensive presents. It’s economical and it tastes great. In honor of all the future fun and good food you’ll be eating, here are five things you probably didn’t know about Thanksgiving:

  1. The first Thanksgiving actually took place in October. That’s right! In the year 1621, residents of Plymouth, Massachusetts feasted and gave thanks for that year’s particularly good harvest — a harvest that occurred weeks before the late November celebration we’ve become accustomed to.
  2. Thanksgiving wasn’t a national holiday until 1863. In that year, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the final Thursday in November (later changed to the fourth Thursday by President Roosevelt). It was the first time in American history Thanksgiving was celebrated on the same day in every state.
  3. Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada. Our friendly neighbors to the north also celebrate Thanksgiving, albeit earlier than we do — on the second Monday of October
  4. The first Thanksgiving menu may not have included turkey. Wampanoag American Indians who attended the original feast brought five deer. Colonists, on the other hand, shot fowl. But nobody knows whether those fowl were geese, ducks, or turkeys. Other probable dishes include seafood, nuts, squashes, and Indian corn.
  5. Originally, Days of Thanksgiving (in the English tradition) were celebrated with a fast. Strange, huh? People celebrated Thanksgiving by not eating anything.

Fun fact: Approximately 46 million turkeys will be eaten this Thanksgiving. 

That’s according to the National Turkey Federation, which says the average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds — for a grand total of 690,000,000 pounds of turkey consumed on one holiday. Let the feast begin!

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