How much do you know about Thanksgiving Day? The entire nation celebrates this festival with great pomp and splendor but not many know about its origins or history. For those who would like to know why the fourth Thursday of every November is a national holiday, here are the answers.
Thanksgiving was not an official holiday until Lincoln proclaimed it in 1863. Before that, presidents would declare it a holiday or not, depending on how they felt. Strange, isn't it?
Sometime during 1620, a boat carrying more than 100 people (Pilgrims) left England and sailed across the Atlantic in search for new land. They finally found an appropriate destination (present day Massachusetts), and began a new life.
The Pilgrims knew farming, and with the help of some locals (Indians) they even learned how to grow various crops. To celebrate their first bountiful harvest and to repay the gratitude of the locals, they organized a huge harvest celebration which is now known as the first Thanksgiving.
In addition to this amazing historical fact,here are interesting questions and trivia about Thanksgiving.
With what did the pilgrims eat their first Thanksgiving food? Their hands, but also with a spoon and knife.
Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the United States. True or false? False. It is also celebrated in Canada on the second Monday of October.
What is the name of the famous rock where the pilgrims landed? Plymouth Rock
Who is the Greek Goddess of corn? Demeter
What foods were served at the first Thanksgiving? Venison, codfish, and boiled pumpkin.
The original Thanksgiving lasted for how long? 3 Days
Which vegetable did the pilgrims have available for Thanksgiving but did not use because they thought it was poisonous? Potatoes
What Indian tribe was invited to spend Thanksgiving with the pilgrims? Wampanoag
The first departmental store that held a Thanksgiving parade was? Gimbels Department Store in 1920, Philadelphia.
What was the name of the ship the pilgrims traveled on? Mayflower
Which was the first giant balloon to debut at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Felix the Cat
In which year was the first Macy's Thanksgiving Parade held? 1924
What was the original name of the Pilgrims? Puritans
What do you call the day after Thanksgiving? Black Friday
The first Thanksgiving football game was started by which team? Detroit Lions, 1934
President Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving one week earlier to stabilize the economy during the Great Depression in 1939. Who opposed the change? The Republicans
⋆ The Plymouth pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving. ⋆ The wishbone of the turkey is used as a good luck charm on Thanksgiving Day. ⋆ Puritans used to love drinking beer. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
⋆ The official Thanksgiving Proclamation was signed on October 3, 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. According to this proclamation, the last Thursday of November was to be celebrated as Thanksgiving.
⋆ It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor who persuaded President Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She had previously persuaded Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.
⋆ In 1941, the Congress passed an official proclamation and made Thanksgiving a national holiday which would be observed on the 4th Thursday of November every year. The state of New York made Thanksgiving an annual customary holiday in 1817.
⋆ The pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America. When the pilgrims reached North America, they found out that Native Americans wore clothes made from animal skin. ⋆ Benjamin Franklin wanted turkey to be the national bird of the United States. Did you know this?
⋆ Thanksgiving is also considered the busiest travel day in the United States. ⋆ Almost 280 million turkeys are consumed during Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.
⋆ Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation presents a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President on Thanksgiving. The President pardons the live turkey and it is sent to a historical farm where it lives the rest of its days.
Thanksgiving is one of the most popular harvest festivals in the United States. It is a day to express gratitude to God, loved ones, and friends, for their support, love, and companionship.
Traditionally, it was celebrated as a means to say thanks to nature for a bountiful harvest. However, the tradition has changed and it is now celebrated as a gathering of friends and family.