By Lauren Chalouhi, Editor-in-chief, The Pawprint
1.The First Thanksgiving Happened in 1621
There are many stories of where the first Thanksgiving celebration took place, the most known version is the first Thanksgiving as a three-day pilgrim celebration which took place in 1621 at the Plymouth Colony, which is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. Most traditional historians know this as the first American Thanksgiving feast. Around 200 years later, President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, made an announcement saying the last Thursday in November, will be known as a day to give thanks. In 1941, the congress made Thanksgiving an official national holiday.
2. Every Thanksgiving, the President Pardons a Turkey
Since 1947, a ceremony known as “The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” has been hosted at The White House a few days before Thanksgiving. During the ceremony, whoever is the current President of the United States is given a live turkey. The President does not eat the turkey, but instead, he “pardons” the bird and spares it from being slaughtered. After, the turkey is set free and goes to a farm.
3. Since 1924, Macy’s Has Put On a Parade Every Thanksgiving
The tradition began in 1924, in New York City. The parade was first known as “Macy’s Christmas Parade” and it was made for the purpose to encourage the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The first Thanksgiving Day Parade was created by Macy’s employees and it even had animals from the Central Park zoo. One of the main features of the parade is the giant floating balloons. It is estimated that around 3 million people attend the parade each year, and over 44 million people watch it at home on their TV.
4. Thanksgiving Is the Busiest Travel Day of the Year
The American Automobile Association (AAA), which is a federation of motor clubs throughout North America, has estimated that over 42 million Americans travel 50 miles or more by car over the holiday weekend. Around 4 million people fly to visit their loved ones for the holiday. More specifically, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is pretty much the worst day of the year anyone could fly. Based on TSA passenger data, in both 2019 and 2021, it was the busiest day of the entire year in terms of U.S. passengers.
5. Thanksgiving Dinner Has Mostly Stayed the Same Over the Years
In 1621, the food eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner was not too different from the food eaten now. The pilgrims’ meal had turkey, venison, duck , lobster, fish, clams, pumpkin, squash, berries, and fruit. Besides the seafood, most of these foods are still the same as the food eaten at Thanksgiving dinners.
6. Americans Eat a Lot of Turkey
Although there isn’t an official reason to why Turkey is an essential main dish used in Thanksgiving dinners. It was likely the most plentiful type of meat in the Plymouth Colony in 1621. We’ve carried on the tradition of eating turkey for Thanksgiving dinner ever since. According to the National Turkey Federation, over 95% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Around 280 million turkeys are sold during the weeks leading up to the holiday.
7. There Is an Official Thanksgiving Postage Stamp
In 2001, The U.S. Postal Service created a commemorative stamp in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. Margaret Cusack created a stamp design to resemble traditional needlework. The purpose behind the stamp being created was to remember the tradition of being thankful for what we have.
8. The Wishbone Tradition Is Much Older Than Thanksgiving
Turkeys’ wishbones are commonly used in a good-luck tradition on Thanksgiving. How it works is two people hold on to either side of the bone while making a wish in their head until the bone breaks. It’s known that whoever breaks off the larger piece will have their wish come true.