Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, campaigned to make Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1827 and succeeded.
Every president since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day. But in 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season.
It was not until 1941 that congress declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It was declared to be the fourth Thursday in November.
Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.
Turkeys were one of the first animals in the Americas to be domesticated.
Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all the meat is “dark” (even the breasts) with a more intense flavor.
A wild turkey has excellent vision and hearing. Their field of vision is about 270 degrees. This is the main reason they continue to elude some hunters.
A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. They can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.
Turkeys can drown if they look up when it is raining.
Turkeys have heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.
Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast. In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold each year. There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.
91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.
20% of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving.
Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans did not eat cranberries. They did, however, find them extremely useful for dying fabric and decorating pottery.
The first Thanksgiving was not a feast, but rather a time when Native Americans helped Pilgrims by bringing them food and helping them build off the land.