Is it true or did we make it up? If it is too much for you to swallow—go to your library and look it up!!
Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after 17 years of writing letters to Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan campaigning for this to happen.
- There was no turkey on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Historians say that deer, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were on the menu—but no turkey. They probably ate pumpkins but no pumpkin pies. They also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries. And no Turduckens were found on the menu. (That is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken).
- Thanksgiving is the reason for TV dinners. In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey (260 tons) that a salesman told them they should package it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes—and the first TV dinner was born.
- Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
- Americans eat 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving.
- Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s first meal in space after walking on the moon was foil packets with roasted turkey.
- Female turkeys (called hens) do not gobble, they cackle. Only the male turkeys (called Toms/Gobblers) gobble.
- The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was 1924, and they didn’t have any balloon floats. Instead they had animals from the Central Park Zoo.
- The Butterball Turkey Talk Line answers nearly 100,000 calls each season. They recently added a 24 hour text line for their tech savvy cooks.
- According to the American Pie Council—an estimated 50,000 pumpkin pies are eaten on Thanksgiving. Americans being Americans, still rank good old apple pie #1, but pumpkin comes in at a close second. Yum!!
- President George H.W. Bush pardoned the first turkey in 1989, and the tradition caught on and still continues today. You may be wondering what happens to the lucky turkeys…..
- In 2005 and 2009 the lucky birds were sent to Disneyland and Walt Disney World to serve as the Grand Marshal in their annual Thanksgiving Day parades. From 2010-2013 they vacationed at Mount Vernon. Not sure what will happen this year. Stay tuned to your local news for updates.