Ten Fun Facts: Thanksgiving Edition

1. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three-day harvest festival. It included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians.

2. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years.

3. There are four places in the United States named Turkey. Louisiana’s Turkey Creek is the most populous, with a whopping 435 residents. There’s also Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Arizona. Oh, let’s not forget the two townships in Pennsylvania: the creatively named Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot!

4. The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.

5. In 1953, Swanson misjudged the number of frozen turkeys it would sell that Thanksgiving – by 26 tons! Some industrious soul came up with a brilliant plan: Why not slice up the meat and repackage it with some trimmings on the side? Thus, the first TV dinner was born!

6. Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-cooking questions via their Butterball Turkey Hotline each November and December.

7. The tradition of football on Thanksgiving began in 1876 with a game between Yale and Princeton. The first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving in 1920.

8. Back in the day, the Europeans took a liking to the guinea fowl imported to the continent. Since the birds were imported by Turkish merchants, the English called them turkeys. Later, when the Spaniards came to America, they found a bird that tasted like guinea fowl. When they were sent to Europe, the English called these birds “turkeys” as well.

9. If Ben Franklin had his way, the turkey would be our national bird. An eagle, he wrote in a letter to his daughter, had “bad moral character.” A turkey, on the other hand, was a “much more respectable bird.”

10. In 1883, the Legislature of Liberia enacted a statute declaring this day a national holiday. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the country largely the nation’s founding in 1821 as a colony of the American Colonization Society by former slaves and free people of color from the United States.