Thanksgiving Day Is Already Upon Us
The First Thanksgiving Day
As we all learned in grade school classes and plays, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony in 1621. The celebration between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians lasted 3 days. Did you know (or remember) that Plymouth Colony today is Massachusetts? It wasn’t until 1883, during the Civil War, that President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving. He ordered it to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.
Sarah Jospeha Hale Loved Thanksgiving!
Sarah Josepha Hale, the enormously influential magazine editor and author waged a tireless 40 year campaign to make Thanksgiving day a national holiday in the mid-19th century. She was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
THANKSGIVING Day Feast
- The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States—were eaten at Thanksgiving.
- In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. Some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
- Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states. Together they produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Total U.S. production was over 1.5 billion pounds.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
- The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade – took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.
- Tony Sarg, a children’s book illustrator and puppeteer, designed the first giant hot air balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. He later created the elaborate mechanically animated window displays that grace the façade of the New York store from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
- Snoopy has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history. As the Flying Ace, Snoopy made his sixth appearance in the 2006 parade.
Thanksgiving Day and Football
- The first time the Detroit Lions played football on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934. They hosted the Chicago Bears, the game was played University of Detroit stadium in front of 26,000 fans. The NBC radio network broadcast the game on 94 stations across the country–the first national Thanksgiving football broadcast. Since that time, the Lions have played a game every Thanksgiving (except between 1939 and 1944); in 1956, fans watched the game on television for the first time.