Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. It is a day for people to give thanks for the blessings in their lives, and is often celebrated with family gatherings, feasting, and parades.
The origin of Thanksgiving in the United States can be traced back to the 1620s, when a group of English Pilgrims arrived in what is now Massachusetts and established a colony at Plymouth. The Pilgrims struggled to survive in the harsh new environment, and were aided by the Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans, who taught them how to farm and hunt.
In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag celebrated a three-day harvest festival to give thanks for the bounty of their crops and the success of their colony. This event is often considered the first Thanksgiving.
The celebration of Thanksgiving became an annual tradition in the United States in the 19th century, and was officially designated a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated with many traditional foods, including turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, and is a time for families and friends to come together and give thanks for the good things in their lives.
Thanksgiving Facts and Stats
- First Thanksgiving Feast: The iconic First Thanksgiving feast took place in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Pilgrims and Native Americans came together for a harvest celebration that lasted three days, commemorating the successful harvest season.
- Presidential Proclamation: It was President Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States in 1863. This proclamation aimed to foster a sense of unity and gratitude during the Civil War.
- Turkey Consumption: Thanksgiving is synonymous with turkey, and it’s no surprise that a significant portion of the annual turkey consumption in the United States occurs on this holiday. Approximately 20% (46 million turkeys) of all annual turkey consumption is enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day.
- Traditional Turkey Dinner: A remarkable 91% of Americans indulge in turkey on Thanksgiving Day. It has become the quintessential centerpiece of the festive feast, symbolizing gratitude and abundance.
- Green Bean Casserole Extravaganza: Green bean casserole has become a staple on Thanksgiving tables across the United States. In fact, an estimated 40 million servings of this classic dish are enjoyed during the holiday, showcasing its enduring popularity.
- Cranberry Consumption: Cranberries are a beloved accompaniment to Thanksgiving meals, with approximately 20% (80 million pounds) of all annual cranberry consumption in the United States taking place during this festive season.
- Thanksgiving Travelers: Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times in the United States. It is estimated that around 46.3 million Americans travel 50 miles or more to spend the holiday with family and friends, embracing the spirit of togetherness.
- Thanksgiving Eve Celebrations: Thanksgiving Eve, also known as “Black Wednesday,” has gained recognition as the biggest bar night of the year in America. It is a time for friends and acquaintances to reunite and socialize before the family-focused Thanksgiving Day.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: The iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a beloved tradition, first took place in 1924. It has since become a spectacle of larger-than-life balloons, marching bands, and performances that captivate audiences nationwide.
- Increasing Costs: In 2021, Thanksgiving dinner is estimated to cost 14% more than in the previous year. The rising costs of food, including an 18% increase in turkey prices year over year, contribute to the higher expenses associated with this traditional feast.
Bonus: Did you know that in 1939, FDR actually changed the official date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday in November….the change only lasted 2 years.
Thanksgiving, with its rich history and cherished traditions, holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. These 11 lesser-known facts about Thanksgiving have shed light on the origins of the first feast, the significant role of turkey, and the increasing costs of celebrating. As the holiday approaches, let us embrace the spirit of gratitude, togetherness, and appreciation for the abundance in our lives. From the Thanksgiving Eve celebrations to the joyous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, let us partake in the time-honored
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