Facts About Thanksgiving Day to Share
- The 1st Thanksgiving is documented on Nov 21, 1621, a year after 102 English citizens fled England. They were commonly called "the Pilgrims" and anchored on the banks of Cape Cod. They arrived on a small ship called the Mayflower and the trip took 66 days.
- The feast was said to be a 3-day event and was a celebration of a good harvest of squash, beans, and corn and learning skills to hunt and fish.
- The celebration feast was shared with North American natives who had taught them to grow food, hunt and fish. Unfortunately half the Pilgrims had died of starvation the first year here so it was such a great celebration to be able to survive by living off the land.
- Pilgrim Edward Winslow had written a letter about a 'turkey hunt' before the celebration and many historian think this why they conclude that turkey was on the menu but most speculate they did not have turkey at that first celebration.
- The first Thanksgiving feast probably did not have turkey but instead Lobster, Cod, Goose and Deer.
- President George Washington proclaimed "National Thanksgiving Proclamation" in America on Oct 3, 1789 and was celebrated on November 26, 1789.
- Lincoln designated the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in 1863 and annually ever since.
- In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date to the last Thursday in November as some years have 5 Thursdays instead of 4 and felt this would boost retail as the country was in a depression but many states did not follow Roosevelt's change and continued to celebrate on the 4th Thursday. In 1941, Congress proclaimed the 4th Thursday as the national holiday.
- More people celebrate Thanksgiving than Christmas since it is a historical holiday and not a religious one.
- President Ronald Reagan first gave a turkey amnesty during his term. In 1987. But President George W. Bush was the first commander of chief to formally pardon a turkey at the White House in the Rose Garden. This has been a yearly tradition and this year 2 turkeys were pardoned named Honest and Abe.
- The pardoned turkeys are chosen from qualities of most well-behaved and the largest of the flock. These turkeys are given to a farm in Virginia to live out their lives without the threat of being served on someones table. This started out as a photo opportunity during the depression and is still celebrated annually.
How do most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day? A big dinner and watching football are the most popular traditions but don't forget the Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Parade.
Happy Thanksgiving Day 2015!
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