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7 Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

As we all settle down to a delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends and family, we enjoy the traditions we have carried out for years. But do you know where these traditions came from? Many families have created their own unique traditions, but where did the most popular Thanksgiving traditions come from? Here are 7 fun facts about the history of Thanksgiving traditions.

sarahHow Did It Become an Official Holiday?

Writer Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, convinced Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday to take place on the 4th Thursday of November. Now we celebrate on this date every year!



calendarHas The Date Always Been the Same?

Thanksgiving was not always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In 1939, President Roosevelt changed the holiday to bump it up 1 week to help increase retail sales during the Depression. Due to a lot of complaints, the date moved back to its original time in 1941.


turkeyWhy Do We Eat Turkey?

The turkey became more popular for the holiday after the 19th century, because it was a more affordable way to feed a large group of people.
Turkeys were around the area where the pilgrims landed, however the food traditions were much different back then. The Wampanoag Indians would have more likely brought deer meat, clams, or lobsters to the meal, while the pilgrims’ English preferences would have been more likely to eat duck or goose.


side-dishesWhere Did The Side Dishes Come From?

Most people think about the traditional sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce at the first Thanksgiving. However, cranberry sauce was invented much later, and sweet potatoes were introduced to America years after the first Thanksgiving.


wishboneWhere Did The Wishbone Tradition Come From?

It actually didn’t come from America. America inherited it from the British, who learned it from the Romans, who learned it from the Etruscans, who believe in oracle powers from birds. Many people today still love the tradition of making a wish from a wishbone.


footballWhere Did The Football Tradition Come From?

The owner of the Detroit Lions really wanted to promote the game and convinced NBC to broadcast his team on Thanksgiving Day. Ever since this broadcast in 1934, The Lions, and later the Dallas Cowboys, started playing on Thanksgiving Day. In many homes today, Thanksgiving football is a very important tradition!


paradeWhere Did the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Come From?

In 1924, Macy’s employees wanted to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season as they used to in Europe, with a traditional large parade. The parade has grown more and more each year, adding music and fun floats, and is still enjoyed by people every year.