There are always many different, little-known and curious facts regarding just about every holiday we celebrate, and Thanksgiving is no exception! Below are some of the most interesting, yet little-known facts about Thanksgiving.

  • When President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, it was thanks to the efforts of a magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale, who was also the first person to advocate women as teachers in public schools, the first to advocate day nurseries to help working mothers, and the first to propose public playgrounds. Not only that, she was also the author of hundreds of poems, two dozen books, and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird, as opposed to the bald eagle. In a letter to his daughter, he had written that an eagle had “bad moral character” but a turkey was a “much more respectable bird”.
  • The first Thanksgiving football game was between Princeton and Yale back in 1876.
  • Black Friday has actually been a tradition since the 1930s. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” largely because stores hope the busy shopping day will take them out of the red and into positive profits.
  • TV dinners first made their appearance because of the Thanksgiving holiday! In 1953, Swanson misjudged the number of frozen turkeys it would sell that holiday by 26 tons. Someone at the company came up with the idea to slice up the meat and pre-package it with trimmings on the side – this was in fact the first TV dinner.
  • Why is a turkey called a “turkey”? Long ago, Europeans took a liking to guinea fowls that were imported to the continent, which were imported by Turkish merchants. When Spaniards came to America, they found a bird that tasted like the beloved guinea fowls; when they were sent to Europe, the English called these birds “turkeys” as well.
  • Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries actually were used by Native Americans to treat wounds and dye clothing. They did not eat them.
  • Americans eat roughly 535 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving!

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