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Turkey Day Tidbits

Think you know all there is to know about Turkey Day traditions? Think again. You haven't even plucked the feathers from this bird. So put on those stretchy Thanksgiving pants and get ready to learn some little-known Thanksgiving tidbits.


Dabbling with Dates

Most people know that Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November, but did you now that FDR actually tried to change the date in 1939? Hoping to spur sales during the Great Depression, the President declared that Thanksgiving should come a week early. But Thanksgiving is one tradition that shouldn't be messed with, and after two years of squabbling, Congress declared the fourth Thursday of November as the legal holiday in 1941.

No Cranberry Sauce?

The first Thanksgiving dinner was sadly devoid of some modern staples like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. While we don't know exactly what the colonists and Wampanoag Indians ate at the first Thanksgiving dinner in October 1621, we do know that there were deer and wild fowl. The feasters likely also feasted on fish, lobster, and clams, as well as vegetables such as corn, pumpkin, squash, carrots, and peas, all of which would have been brought in with the seasonal harvest.

Officially Delicious

While Thanksgiving is traditionally thought to have started with the Pilgrims on in Plymouth Colony, Turkey Day didn't actually become an annual tradition in the United States until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.


About 46 million turkeys end up on American dinner tables at Thanksgiving - a tasty, if slightly horrifying, statistic for turkeys. That comes out to about 736 million pounds of turkey meat, about three pounds per person, and $875 million spent on birds for the big day.

The New Way's Way More Fun

Despite the massive amount of food Americans consume on Thanksgiving, the holiday was originally intended to be a fast, rather than a feast, as devout Plymouth Rock settlers were used to giving thanks by praying and fasting. Luckily the Wampanoag Indians contributed their own traditions to celebration, namely dancing, games, and feasting.

Don't They Look Lovely, June?

If you're not slaving away in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, you're probably glued to the TV for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, originally known as Macy's Christmas Parade to kickoff the start of Christmas shopping, first took place in New York City in 1924 and featured Macy's employees and animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, the annual parade draws a crowd of about three million people, with another 44 million tuning in to watch it from the comfort of their own homes.

They're Going to Need a lot of Whipped Cream

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without pumpkin pie, but some people take "leaving room for dessert" to a whole new level. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked was made on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio and weighed in more than 2,000 pounds. The massive pie included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust.