Little Known Facts about Thanksgiving

1. Turkeys in America

Did you know that there are four places in the United States actually named Turkey? Turkey Creek is in Louisiana and has an estimated 440 residents. There’s also Turkey, Texas. This Turkey is a city in Hall County, Texas, and has a total area of 0.8 square miles. Turkey, North Carolina, was once called Springville. History says that a large group of wild turkeys moved into the area, and the people took that as a sign. The town’s post office reports that it sometimes gets mail intended for the country of Turkey, and at one point in time they even received letters from stamp collectors asking for a Thanksgiving Day postmark. Turkey Creek, Arizona, is a secluded and diverse area tucked in the northern foothills of the Galiuro Mountains of Southeastern Arizona. It’s open to horses, bikes, and places you can go by foot. And as an extra Turkey bonus – there also happen to be two townships in Pennsylvania – one is named Upper Turkeyfoot and the other is Lower Turkeyfoot. In case you want some extra Turkey this year.

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2. Holiday Attire

WWAPW? That stands for “what would a pilgrim wear?” If you were wondering what Pilgrims would wear for the holiday, turns out, the image we have is not historically accurate. They did not wear buckled hats, wear large golden buckles on their shoes, and sport long white collars. In fact, they hardly ever dressed in only in black and white. They only wore predominately black and gray clothing on Sundays. They actually wore plenty of colors. Their clothing was actually heavily dyed clothing, with all natural dyes. Buckles were expensive and did not come into fashion until later in the 17th century.  We know a lot about what they wore because back then an inventory of a person’s wardrobe was made when they died for the purpose of probate.

3. On the Very First Thanksgiving

Did you know that nobody ate turkey at the inaugural Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey wasn’t even served at the first Thanksgiving. If you were an early settler, you would have given thanks by praying and abstaining from food. That was actually what they had planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, that is, until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day celebration. Here’s one part of this that will blow your mind – Pilgrims didn’t use forks – at all. Not because they were making a statement, it’s because they weren’t invented yet. Forks actually didn’t become popular until the 18th century. Seems like they would’ve had to get creative when it came to how they at deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. They probably also ate pumpkins – but no pumpkin pies. They also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries.

4. An American Holiday

The famous pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Colony Massachusetts in 1621 is traditionally regarded as the first American Thanksgiving. But did you know that there are actually 12 claims to where the “first” Thanksgiving took place: two in Texas, two in Florida, one in Maine, two in Virginia, and five in Massachusetts. As the pilgrim festival in 1621 was the first, they didn’t plan on repeating the tradition. In 1789, George Washington announced it to be a national holiday. It didn’t become a tradition nationwide then until the 19th century.  Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, who was an American writer and an influential editor, famously campaigned for the creation of the American holiday we know today as Thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Buell Hale is the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Hale stood as a middle-class woman in matters of fashion, cooking, literature, and morality.

5. Pardon Me?

Each year the President will pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president of the U.S saves its life and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey pardon ceremony started with President Truman in 1947. President Obama once pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who then flew to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

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