Thanksgiving is so more than just turkey dinner with pumpkin pie for dessert. It's not just day of football games and planning a Black Friday shopping strategy either. It's a time for families to come together and express their gratitude for everything they have in their lives. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is rich with history...and some interesting facts:
- The first Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was held in 1621 and lasted three days. The menu did not include turkey and mash potatoes. However, lobster, rabbit, venison, chicken, fish, squash, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup, honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are what historians believe were consumed in the first Thanksgiving feast.
- In 1789, George Washington was the first to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation. He asked Americans to be thankful for the "happy conclusion to the country's war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution."
- Pumpkin pie was missing from the first Thanksgiving due to a lack of eggs, milk and sugar. But there is a record it was on the menu for the second feast.
- New York was the first state to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday in 1817.
- In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' to officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
- The date remained that way until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week, to November 23, to spur economic growth and boost sales. But not all states adopted the change. It was two years before Congress passed a law on December 26, 1941, declaring that Thanksgiving would occur every year on the fourth Thursday of November.
- The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was in 1924. The annual event stretches for more than 2 miles and boasts over 2 million spectators lining the streets to watch every year.
- Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President of the United States. The live turkey is not eaten but "officially pardoned" and allowed to live out its days on a farm.
- In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving celebrations. The birds are roasted, baked and/or deep fried and an estimated 90% of Americans have turkey for their holiday feast.
And if your family plans to sit down to dinner as picture perfect as a Norman Rockwell painting, think of this, the pilgrims didn’t have forks at the first Thanksgiving. They used spoons and fingers! Nothing can be perfect…just be thankful!