10 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Thanksgiving
While those are definitely two of our favorite components, the important (and fascinating!) facts are often overlooked. Whether you're looking for an interesting conversation starter or just really want to know more about Thanksgiving, these surprising facts will make you seem like the smartest person at the dinner table.
1. The first Thanksgiving was actually a three-day celebration.
Today, Thanksgiving is one day — maybe two if you count Black Friday. But apparently the Pilgrims wanted to party even harder. Governor William Bradford organized the feast, inviting the Plymouth colonists' Native American allies. But it was only until the Wampanoag guests came and joined the Pilgrims that they decided to extend the affair.
2. It's unclear if colonists and Native Americans ate turkey at their feast.
There is truly no definitive proof that the traditional Thanksgiving entrée was even offered to guests back in 1621. However, they did indulge in other interesting foods like lobster, seal, and swan.
3. Today, a part of Plymouth, Massachusetts, looks just as it did in the 17th century.
Modeled after an English village and a Wampanoag home site, the historic attraction Plimoth Plantation stays true to its roots. You can order tickets as early as June to attend a Thanksgiving dinner complete with numerous authentic courses, tales of colonial life, and centuries-old songs.
4. While president, Thomas Jefferson refused to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday.
Presidents originally had to declare it a holiday every year. History says Jefferson refused because he strongly believed in the separation of church and state. Since Thanksgiving involved prayer, he thought making it a holiday would violate the First Amendment.
5. The woman behind "Mary Had a Little Lamb" is also responsible for Thanksgiving's recognition as a national holiday.
In 1863, writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale convinced President Abraham Lincoln to officially declare Thanksgiving a national holiday that recurred every year. She wrote countless articles and letters to persuade the president — and the rest is history!
6. The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade didn't feature any balloons.
But when the parade made its big debut in 1924, it did have something that might be even cooler than balloons: animals from the Central Park Zoo.
7. In 1939, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the third Thursday in November — not the fourth.
You might think President Roosevelt could predict the future, as he channeled a "Black Friday" mindset in making this decision. Even though the holiday had been celebrated on the fourth Thursday since its official recognition decades before, Roosevelt bumped it up a week — adding seven more shopping days to the holiday season. Americans, to say the least, didn't love the change, so it was officially (and legally) switched back in 1942.
8. About 46 million turkeys are cooked for Thanksgiving each year.
It's tradition, after all! And on Christmas, 22 million families host an encore with another turkey.
9. You might consume up to 229 grams fat during the big meal.
We hate to break it to you, but that's about three to four times the amount of fat you should eat in a day. You're probably also wondering how many calories you might eat — and unfortunately an entire Thanksgiving meal could total over 3,000 calories.
10. An estimated 50 million pumpkin pies are eaten on Thanksgiving.
Original story: Good Housekeeping