The Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast, in 1621, lasted three days.
On October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” that made the last Thursday in November a national holiday.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November, in order to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy. Two years later, he changed it to the fourth Thursday.
In 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, on the fourth Thursday in November.
There were no mashed potatoes at the first Thanksgiving dinner – potatoes were brought here later, by Irish immigrants.
Turkeys were one of the first animals in the Americas to be domesticated.
Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey a noble bird and wanted it to be the national bird of America, rather than the eagle!
Native Americans used the red juice of the cranberry to dye rugs and blankets.
Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
It was once believed that merely touching a wishbone would bring you good luck. Squabbles over the bone eventually led to the custom of tugging them until they snapped, and the holder of the longer piece would be granted a wish.
The pilgims didn’t use forks, they used spoons, knives and their fingers, so if anyone objects to you picking up that drumstick – tell them you are practicing traditional American table manners!
Some Fun Thanksgiving Facts for You: