As you're sharing what you're grateful for, stuffing your face, dodging those uncomfortable marriage/children/job questions, and/or watching football on Turkey Day, why not throw in a few fun facts to really get the party started?
Because yes, everyone in the U.S. is familiar with the history of the first Thanksgiving (at least, I hope). You know, when the pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe gathered in the Plymouth Colony to feast for three days in 1621 (if you didn't know, now you know). But, surprise! There are a million and one other fascinating things about the holiday. Here are some of the best pieces of info to throughout the day:
1. Historians are not actually certain if turkey was eaten at the First Thanksgiving in 1621.
Not only that, but the first Thanksgiving meal may not have actually been served. The "fowling" they ate that day could have been other birds like "ducks, geese and swans," which were also regularly eaten in the area.
2. The first Macy's Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
According to AM New York and other sources, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally called the "Macy's Christmas Parade" to kick off the holiday shopping season. Held in 1924, the first parade "included a menagerie of circus mainstays, including monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants, all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo."
3. Snoopy has appeared in the Macy's Parade more than any other character balloon.
A Snoopy balloon made his debut at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1968, making 39 appearances "on and off through 2015" before he was replaced with Charlie Brown in 2016, Mental Floss reports.
4. Sarah Josepha Hale was actually the "Mother of Thanksgiving."
Sarah J. Hale, author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and 19th-century writer and editor, was nicknamed theof Thanksgiving after she wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward in 1863, calling for the declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Biography writes, "[Lincoln] followed suit, ultimately leading to a fixed time of annual celebration over the years."
5. "Jingle Bells" was originally a Thanksgiving song.
I know, I know, this is wild. But the James Pierpont's original 1857 song, then titled "One Horse Open Sleigh," was originally composed for Thanksgiving. It became so popular around Christmas though that in 1859 the title was changed to "Jingle Bells."
6. Benjamin Franklin wished the turkey was the national bird.
In a letter he wrote to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin pens "For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country... For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird." There's actually a song about this in 1776, the Tony-winning musical about the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
7. Butterball has had a Turkey Talk-Line open every November through December for over 35 years.
Believe it or not, since 1981 Butterball has been answering more than 100,000 turkey related questions for thousands of homes in the U.S. and Canada every November to December. Yes, the Turkey Talk-Line is real.
8. You're not tired from the turkey's tryptophan.
Bad news: the real reason you're tired is because you over-ate. In fact, Dr. Daniel Barone tells Business Insider it's actually called "postprandial fatigue." Simply put, he says this means "after you've had a big meal your body goes into basically shutdown mode and sleep gets promoted."
9. The first professional Thanksgiving Day football game was played 1920.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the games played on Thanksgiving on November 25, 1920 included:
- Akron Pros (7) vs. Canton Bulldogs (0)
- Decatur Staleys (6) vs. Chicago Tigers (0)
- Elyria (OH) Athletics* (0) vs. Columbus Panhandles (0)
- Dayton Triangles (28) vs. Detroit Heralds (0)
- Chicago Boosters* (27) vs. Hammond Pros (0)
- All-Tonawanda (NY) (14) vs. Rochester Jeffersons (3)
*Non-league team. "Games between league teams and non-league teams counted in standings in 1920." - Pro Football Hall of Fame
Football fans, whip these stats out and you will WIN the game.
10. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has come to be known "Drinksgiving" or "Black Wednesday."
The night before Thanksgiving has quickly become a night for drinking, where Uber prices surge, Business Insider reports.
11. Black Friday, AKA the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest day for plumbers.
Plumbing and drain companies don't really get the Friday after Thanksgiving off seeing as though it's actually one of their busiest days of the year. In fact, it's so busy Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleaning company actually calls it... well, "Brown Friday."
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