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happy turkey dayThanksgiving has its roots in a 1621 3 day celebration, when the pilgrims invited local Indians to celebrate their first successful harvest. You may be surprised, but turkey wasn’t on the menu, as the Indians presented the Pilgrims with deer for the feast. They also didn’t have pumpkin pie or potatoes, as those foods had not yet been introduced to New England.

The celebration was never repeated by the Pilgrims, but in 1789, President George Washington announced the first national Thanksgiving holiday to be Thursday, November 26th. However, Thanksgiving didn’t become an annual tradition until the 19th century, when an American writer named Sara Joseph Hale started waging a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Her campaign lasted nearly 30 years-and ended with President Lincoln declaring it a Federal holiday in 1863.

During Hale’s campaign, she began publishing recipes for pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing; items that didn’t appear on the Pilgrim’s plates, but would become one of today’s modern Thanksgiving meals.

Top Ten Historical Thanksgiving Facts

  1. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the USA.
  2. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
  3. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
  4. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1621.
  5. The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
  6. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.
  7. The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817.
  8. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  9. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the USA.
  10. By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to hold a thanksgiving feast.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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