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Thanksgiving Facts and Trivia

Updated on July 3, 2011
Thanksgiving turkey  credit: bcostin @flickr
Thanksgiving turkey credit: bcostin @flickr

Thanksgiving Facts About Traditional Thanksgiving Foods

Residents of California eat more turkey than any other Americans.

The first Thanksgiving in Plymouth had the traditional Thanksgiving foods of turkey, pumpkin, and berries. But they also ate deer, fish, and lobsters.

Beer accompanied the Pilgrims across the ocean on the Mayflower. Pilgrims enjoyed beer, obviously.

The state of Minnesota raises more turkeys each year than other states. Massachusetts leads the way for cranberry production. Illinois produces the most pumpkins. North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes.

Thanksgiving Facts About the Mayflower Pilgrims

The average age of the Mayflower Pilgrims was 32. The voyage across the ocean took longer than two months.

There were about 100 Pilgrims arriving in Plymouth on the Mayflower. Out of the original Pilgrims, less than half survived the first year. There were only 5 women left to cook the Thanksgiving feast.

The very first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621 lasted for several days. There were more Native Americans present than Pilgrims, 90 to 53.

The Pilgrims undoubtedly would not have survived without the help of neighboring Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, and another Native American, Squanto. Squanto served as interpreter and showed the Pilgrims how to grow crops and catch food. Massasoit and his tribe actually supplied the Pilgrims with food when they were starving.

Presidential Thanksgiving Facts and Trivia

Did you know that Ben Franklin wanted to proclaim the turkey America's national bird?
It's true. He thought the turkey was a noble bird. Keep in mind that this was the wild turkey, not the dumb, domesticated turkey we think of for Thanksgiving dinner. Thomas Jefferson strongly opposed Franklin, and wanted the eagle to be the symbol of the new country.

Some of our presidents are descendants of the original Mayflower pilgrims, including George Bush and his presidential son, John Adams and son, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ulysses S. Grant.

President George Washington proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789. Many presidents following him also proclaimed Thanksgiving Days. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be occurring on the last Thursday in November 1863. President Roosevelt signed into law in 1941 that the official date of Thanksgiving would be the fourth November every year.

Thanksgiving Trivia Odds and Ends

The United States isn't the only country that has a Thanksgiving Day. Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving in October.

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade has been around for almost a century- it started during the 1920s. The very first Macy's parade balloon was Felix the Cat.

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year

Thanksgiving Facts and Trivia Comments

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    • profile image

      didyouknow 6 years ago

      interesting read, thx for that! Good to know and even understand what people are really celebrating ;)

      check also out these 5 interesting thanksgiving facts

    • screation profile image

      screation 7 years ago

      A food lover's delight, an ecstasy for the taste buds; there's no denying the fact that the turkey makes for a great dinner - one that all food lovers would look forward too. Every year on Thanksgiving this bird sends the taste buds of 95% of Americans into raptures.

    • maecy15 profile image

      maecy15 7 years ago from Las PiƱas City, Philippines

      i wish we also have thanksgiving here in the Philippines.:)

    • suejanet profile image

      suejanet 7 years ago

      Good hub, very interesting facts. I enjoyed reading this, something to talk about at thanksgiving dinner!

    • askjanbrass profile image

      askjanbrass 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I can't believe only 5 women cooked that enormous feast! What an endeavor.

    • DjBryle profile image

      DjBryle 7 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      Very amusing and educational too! 'Love it! =)

    • cwarden profile image

      cwarden 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing all the interesting info and your great recipes!

    • burning bush profile image

      burning bush 7 years ago

      Thanksgiving is, to me, the best of all our North American holidays. There are no gifts required, no cultural obligations, and its not of religious significance. Its the simple coming together of friends, family, and others to share a meal, some conversation, and give thanks for whatever has made each of our lives just a little better. We should be thankful for this holiday as it reminds us what is truly important. Thank you Angela for the facts and trivia. I enjoyed your hub and will continue to follow your exploits:)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      Really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for putting so many interesting historical points together.