Thanksgiving Facts & Trivia
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.
Truly we have much to be thankful for. It is a privilege to be a citizen of the United States of America. Our forefathers have given us much, and so let us do the same for future generations to come by ensuring they inherit a great Nation that was so freely passed onto us.
I have added interesting tidbits to help peak reader interest in regards to the Thanksgiving Holiday which by the way, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving Facts and Trivia
- Since Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving holiday in 1863, Thanksgiving
has been observed annually.
- 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.
- Corn is one of the popular symbols of Thanksgiving. It came in many varieties and colors-
red, white, yellow and blue. Some Americans considered blue and white corn sacred.
- Americans eat roughly 535 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving day.
- It is estimated that fifty percent of Americans put the stuffing inside the turkey.
- Turkeys were one of the first animals in the Americas to be domesticated.
- In 2007, George W. Bush granted a pardon to two turkeys named May and Flower. The
tradition of pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys began in 1947, although Abraham Lincoln is
said to have informally started the practice when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey.
- The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians for the first Thanksgiving.
- In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, campaigned and succeeded in making
Thanksgiving a National Holiday.
- President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of
thanksgiving, and in 1941 Congress established the fourth Thursday in November as the
celebrated national holiday.
- Established in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ties for second as the oldest
Thanksgiving parade. The Snoopy balloon has appeared in the parade more often than
any other character. It is noted that 44 million people watch the parade on TV each year
and another 3 million attend the parade in person.
- 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
- In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Thanksgiving stamp to honor the tradition of
“being thankful” for the abundance of goods we enjoy in the United States of America.
- Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22nd and as late as November 28th.
- The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday mostly because stores hope the
busy shopping day will take them out of the red and into the plus for profits. Black
Friday has been a tradition since the 1930’s.
- God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’
~William A. Ward
- Here I am, 5 o’clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.
- True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and
not to tell Him what we have done for him. ~George R. Hendrick
- You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.
- We will speed the day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing. Free at last,
free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with
people they only see once a year and then discover once a year is way too often.
- If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you”, that would suffice.
- As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not
to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy
Proclamation of Thanksgiving
President Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crisis − the American Civil War − preserving the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic and financial modernization.
Some presidents proclaimed Thanksgivings while others did not. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Below is the Proclamation of Thanksgiving which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving by President Abraham Lincoln. Source: Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Proclamation of Thanksgiving − Washington, D.C. − October 3rd, 1863
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.
By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.
Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one hear and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in the foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverance’s and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the
Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~Ephesians 5:20