Every year Thanksgiving invokes the feeling of food, love, and family. From the traditional Thanksgiving football games to the indulgence of the most delicious homemade food which surrounds the holiday, Thanksgiving is a holiday most people look forward to.
Many may enjoy the love of the holiday, but there is more to Thanksgiving than good eats, family time, and football. Read on to discover the eleven most amazing Thanksgiving facts that helped make Thanksgiving what it is today.
11 Made National Holiday by Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday. When asked by a magazine editor to make Thanksgiving a fixed Union Festival, Lincoln responded by writing a Proclamation, making the last Thursday of every November a National holiday for giving thanks for our blessings.
The proclamation of Thanksgiving being a National holiday in 1863 was declared after Sarah Josefa Hale, the magazine editor, had written 17 letters campaigning for a day of thanks to be acknowledged each year.
10 Fast not a Feast
The early settlers had given thanks by praying and fasting. This was there way of being thankful for their families being together on a new land. However, after coming into contact with the Wampanoag Indians, the settlers enjoyed a feast that lasted three days with the Indians.
9 Foods of the First Thanksgiving Meal
The very first Thanksgiving held by the Pilgrims and the Indians did not have turkey as a meal at all for the holiday which brought the two groups together. Deer, various types of fish, corn, flint as well as various types of fowl graced the Pilgrims and the Indians at the three day feast. This feast helped the Indians welcome the Pilgrims onto their land.
8 The Reason Behind Why Turkeys are Called Turkeys
When turkeys were first introduced to Europe in the 16th century, there was another bird used for special dinners, called the guinea fowl. Coming from Madagascar, turkey merchants soon started to refer to the guinea fowl as the turkey fowl.
The merchants also called other foods turkey foods, such as “turkey wheat” and “turkey corn.” Many people in these golden years of enjoying their occasional special dinner get together, believed that the North American turkey was a type of guinea fowl.
The turkey in Europe and England became so popular, that people began to call it a “turkey fowl.” Eventually the popular name of the “turkey fowl” was called just a turkey, leaving people looking forward to the turkey dinners.
7 President Roosevelt Moved Thanksgiving
During the presidential years of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American leader moved Thanksgiving to the next to last Thursday in November in order to prolong the shopping season. Though the change was meant to invoke the holiday spirit, many Republicans rebelled against the change.
The rebel from the Republicans caused Thanksgiving to be temporarily to be celebrated on different dates. The “Republican Thanksgiving,” was celebrated on November 30, while “Franksgiving,” or “Democrat Thanksgiving,” was celebrated on November 23.
6 Canadian Thanksgiving
Even though Thanksgiving is a very popular holiday celebrated by many Americans, this well known event is also celebrated in Canada. However, Canadians do not celebrate Thanksgiving in November, but on the second Monday in October.
The Americans who moved to Canada brought the tradition of giving thanks with them on Thanksgiving as an end to the Harvest after the American Revolution. Canadians even call the American turkey filled holiday “Yanksgiving,” to differentiate from their holiday.
5 Turkey the More Respected Bird
Benjamin Franklin who was an advocate for making the turkey the official United States bird, was very unhappy when the bald eagle was chosen. He referred to the bald eagle as having bad moral character, while saying that the turkey was a true native of America. He said that the turkey was a much more respectable bird, which led him to write a letter to his daughter explaining his frustrations about the chosen bird.
4 T.V. Dinners Created because of Thanksgiving
Even though T.V. dinners are the cornerstone of many people’s meals, the creation of the T.V. dinner was appreciated by a lot of people, because the extra turkey used was used to freeze the leftovers for a T.V dinner for those who wanted those leftovers. The beginning of a meal eaten in front of a television set came in 1953 by Swanson, who had the idea to freeze the turkey along with two sides of vegetables, instead throwing the food away because they misjudged how turkeys would be sold for the Thanksgiving holiday. After 26 tons of turkey was left unsold, the Swanson team decided to slice up the turkeys and put them into T.V. dinners with some trimmings on the side.
3 Jingle Bells for Thanksgiving
The earlier years of Thanksgiving may have invited the love of food and family, but there was also popular song that went along with the holiday to help families celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving which brought them together. The song “Jingle Bells,” was originally written for Thanksgiving by James Pierpoint in 1857. The original title of the song was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” but the song was so popular, that people started singing the song during Christmas and became known as a Christmas song.
2 Thanksgiving Football
Every year, along with the smell of turkey in the air and stuffing waiting to be eaten, football fans around the country surround their televisions on Thanksgiving to watch the traditional football game. The tradition started in 1934 when the owner of the Spartans moved the team to Detroit and decided to compete against Tigers for more fan base. After the Detroit Lions competed against the Chicago Bears one Thanksgiving, the game was such a huge success, the decision was made to have a game every Thanksgiving year. Since the years of the beginning of Thanksgiving football, there has been a game every year on Thanksgiving, except between 1939 and 1944 because of World War II.
1 Macy’s Day Parade
With the spirit of Thanksgiving representing the beginning of the seasonal holidays, the Macy’s Day Parade is the event that brings millions of people from around the world to the event to help celebrate Thanksgiving. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924.
Even though the parade was originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, signifying the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, it became a tradition to have the parade on Thanksgiving. Balloons have also been a big part of what have drawn the crowds in to the major New York event. In 1927, Felix the Cat was the first giant balloon to ever take part in the parade that entertained millions. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade even had real animals from the Central Park Zoo. Some of those animals included: elephants,donkeys, goats, and camels.
The last in the lineup in the parade was Santa Clause, which is a tradition that still continues today. The parade has made many changes throughout the years. One of the changes were when celebrities and athletes took part in the parade. Even the hosts of the parade made the crowd fall in love with the parade. Ed McMahon Co-hosted the special event from the 1971 to 1981. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade continues to be a special event that holds the heart of America.