As the leaves turn golden and the air grows crisp, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, bringing with it a cornucopia of traditions, history, and delicious dishes. But beyond the turkey and pumpkin pie, how much do you know about this cherished American holiday? Let’s dive into six fun and perhaps surprising facts about Thanksgiving that might just be the perfect conversation starters at your dinner table this year.
1. A Feast Three Days Long:
The first Thanksgiving wasn’t just a one-day affair. The original celebration, shared between the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans in 1621, lasted three whole days. Yes, three days of feasting, games, and camaraderie! Imagine trying to prepare enough food for that duration in our times.
2. The Turkey Dilemma:
While turkey is now the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals, there’s no conclusive evidence that it was served at the first Thanksgiving. The menu back then was more likely to have included venison, duck, geese, and even seafood. Turkey became a Thanksgiving staple much later, possibly because it’s a North American bird and a fittingly large dish for such a feast.
3. Thanksgiving’s Long Road to a Holiday:
Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday immediately. It was celebrated only intermittently after the first feast. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
4. The Macy’s Parade Origin:
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade didn’t feature massive balloons. When it started in 1924, the parade included live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo, like camels, donkeys, and elephants, along with bands and floats. The iconic giant balloons debuted in 1927 with Felix the Cat.
5. A Presidential Pardon:
The tradition of the U.S. President pardoning a turkey each year is a relatively recent addition to the Thanksgiving traditions. It started in 1989 with President George H.W. Bush and has continued ever since. The pardoned turkeys are sent to a farm to live out their days in peace.
6. The Leftovers Innovation:
The TV dinner concept owes its existence to Thanksgiving. In 1953, a Swanson employee accidentally ordered a colossal amount of turkey (260 tons too much!). To deal with the excess, they sliced it up, repackaged it with some trimmings, and thus the first TV dinner was born.
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As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, let’s cherish these fun facts and the company of our loved ones. And if you’re considering a home makeover in time for the holidays, remember, The Carpet Guys are just a call away from a FREE in-home flooring estimate, ready to make your festive season even more special!