The first Thanksgiving event happened almost 400 years ago, and we’re still celebrating the event to this day. However, while the story goes back for centuries, the actual holiday of Thanksgiving as we know it today, complete with a great feast of turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, did not come together until many years down the road! Check out a few of these fun Thanksgiving facts below and find out more about this awesome occasion.
1) Approximately 46,000,000 turkeys are sold annually just for Thanksgiving. Since the average weight of each bought turkey is 16lbs, all the turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving could equal the weight of almost 750 filled Boeing 747-8 airplanes.
2) 20% of all cranberries eaten in the US are eaten on Thanksgiving Day!
3) The very first Thanksgiving menu included deer, small fowl, corn, and several types of fish. Almost all the dishes we know to be traditional became so at least 200 years later.
4) Pumpkin was used as an ingredient for the crust of some pies during the colonial period, but not the filling!
5) Part of why Swanson invented the first TV Dinners in 1953 was because they needed to use up all of their Thanksgiving Turkey leftovers!
6) This year, 2013, marks the first time that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have converged since 1888, and the next time these two events align might not be for another 79,043 years!
7) Despite that George Washington supported setting aside a day of Thanksgiving in 1777, the US did not officially recognize Thanksgiving Day until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared that it should be held on the last Thursday of November every year.
(Note: In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt was convinced by the National Retail Dry Goods Association to change Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November in order to extend the holiday shopping season. This decision was very unpopular and was officially reversed in 1941).
8) Sarah Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” campaigned for almost 2 decades to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, and it was in part because of a letter from her that Abraham Lincoln declared it so. She also came up with an outline of suggested Thanksgiving dishes that likely set the tradition for our modern menus!