Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in America since 1863. Today, Thanksgiving is also known as “Turkey Day” is traditionally a day for friends and families to come together for a special feast. It’s a time to give thanks for things you have. We all know the first Thanksgiving feast started when the Pilgrims rejoiced on good harvest and celebrated their happiness. Did you know that turkey wasn’t first served at Thanksgiving and there was no forks used in the early stages?
Well, there are bundles of stories linked to the history of Thanksgiving Day, here are few untold facts you might have never heard about this holiday.
- Thanksgiving Day was never a national holiday till 200 years. It was Sarah Josepha Hale who wrote classic nursery rhymes “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” tried hard to convince President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 through writing letters for almost 17 years campaigning for this request.
- There was no turkey on the first Thanksgiving menu. What was served? They possibly ate pumpkins but there were no pumpkin pies. They did not eat cranberry relish or mashed potatoes, but they ate cranberries. ‘Turduckens’- a stuffed turkey were nowhere to be found in the early Thanksgiving days.
- There were no forks used in the first Thanksgiving. People used spoons and knives in their first Thanksgiving feast, but no forks. Because Pilgrims was unaware of forks until 10 years and forks became popular only after 18th century.
- The early American settlers planned to celebrate their first harvest by keeping fast. They prayed and avoided food until the Wampanoag Indians changed the tradition and turned the day-long fast into a three-day feast!
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924 with people marching from Convent Ave to 145th street in New York City. In the early days, there were no large balloons used in the parade, it featured live animals from Central Park Zoo.
- Jingle Bells was originally made for Thanksgiving Day. James Pierpoint who composed the song for children celebrating Thanksgiving in 1857 never knew his song would be use for another fest. The song was so famous that it was used again for Christmas. The title “One Horse Open Sleigh” was quickly associated with the Christmas festivity, and the title was changed in 1859 to make it an official Christmas song.
- The tradition of Thanksgiving feast and football started way back in 1934. Football is embedded in the Thanksgiving holiday that many people find game as important as Thanksgiving Turkey. The first NFL football game took place in 1934 on Thanksgiving Day when Chicago Bears played against Detroit Lions. The Lions have always played on Thanksgiving Day ever since, expect during World War II. The Dallas Cowboys also played on the holiday and their first game took place in 1966.
- Thomas Jefferson called off the holiday during his presidency. President Jefferson was so obstinately against Thanksgiving that he canceled the holiday and called it as “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.” It was until Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed the holiday again in 1863 and our beloved feast was officially scheduled on the fourth Thursday of every month.
- Did you know there was ‘Franksgiving’ in spite of Thanksgiving? Franklin Roosevelt changed the date of the holiday from the fourth Thursday to the second-to-last in November in 1939. The change was made to lift the country’s economy during the Great Depression era so that people have more time to shop for Christmas. However, in the end people were confused with the idea with most states celebrated the feast on the original date while three states- Mississippi, Colarado, and Texas celebrated in both weeks. It caused public protest and people began to refer it as “Franksgiving.” After two years, the policy was ditched and Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.
- There is an annual tradition called as presidential pardon in the U.S. where a turkey is pardon and spared it from eaten on Thanksgiving dinner. The pardon ceremony started in 1947 by President Truman. It was thought to be started in 1860s when Abraham Lincoln’s son begged to spare the life of his pet turkey. President Obama pardoned a turkey named ‘Courage’ who was taken to Disneyland to serve as Grand Marshal of Thanksgiving Day parade. George H.W. Bush was the first president to officiate presidential pardon.
The season to feast, eat, and enjoy has begun. Happy Thanksgiving Day! What are you doing for Thanksgiving feast or which market are you planning to hit for Black Friday? Let us know in the comments section below.