Fun Facts with Hamilton – Thanksgiving Edition!

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The party is over. Get out your leftover turkey, make a sandwich, and brush up on your trivia.

The First Thanksgiving:

  • Celebrated a year after arriving on Plymouth Rock, the first Thanksgiving was given by the Pilgrims and shared with the Wampanoag natives.
  • The feast lasted three days, and included games, singing, and dancing.
  • There were 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoags at the gathering. (Some historians believe there were only five women present!)
  • Turkey was NOT on the menu. Instead, they ate venison, duck, goose, eel, oysters, and lobster. Pumpkins were probably included — just not as pies.
  • The Pilgrims did not wear solely black and white garb or buckles on their hats and shoes. (Buckles did not come into style until the later 17th century, and black and white were typically reserved only for Sundays.

Presidential Treatment:

  • George Washington, John Adams, and James Monroe each issued a Thanksgiving holiday, or as Washington put it, “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.”
  • However, Thomas Jefferson refused to call for a “day of thanks,” as he believed it interfered with, “the separation of church and state.”
  • To bring harmony to the war-torn nation, Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. President to proclaim Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed the traditional Thanksgiving holiday from the fourth Thursday in November to the third Thursday. He wanted to allow for an extra week of shopping before Christmas.
  • It wasn’t until 1941 that the fourth Thursday in November was set in stone as a national and federal holiday when Congress made it official forever.
  • Herbert Hoover was the first President given the traditional turkey from the National Turkey Association, but he ended up eating his for dinner. It was George H.W. Bush, who formalized turkey pardoning in 1989.

Speaking of Turkey:

  • There are four towns throughout the nation named “Turkey.” You can visit them in North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana.
  • Butterball Turkey fields over 100,000 questions about cooking turkey every November-December on their Butterball Turkey Hotline.
  • An average of 46 million turkeys are prepared every year for Thanksgiving. (Yes, you read that right.) An additional 22 million are ready again for Christmas.
  • Since 1970, turkey consumption has grown by 104% or more. (Yep. You read that right, too.)
  • The average weight of a Thanksgiving turkey is around 15 pounds.

Don’t Rain on Our Parade

  • The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924.
  • The parade began as a Christmas Parade and included Santa Claus and Macy’s Christmas window display’s unveiling.
  • The parade was broadcasted via radio for the first time in 1932. Its television debut was in 1942.
  • “Balloonatics”,(the title awarded to Macy’s balloon designers) spend up to a year designing and building each balloon.
  • Snoopy the Dog has made more appearances than any other balloon character — 40 to be exact.
  • Over 22.1 million people watch the parade every single year.

Well — that’s about all we have time for today, folks! Be sure to check some other time for the next edition of Fun Facts with Hamilton!