10 Little Known Facts About Thanksgiving
The famous pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Colony Massachusetts in 1621 is traditionally regarded as the first American Thanksgiving. However, 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.
- President Jefferson called a federal Thanksgiving proclamation “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.”
- Held every year on the island of Alcatraz since 1975, “Unthanksgiving Day” commemorates the survival of Native Americans following the arrival and settlement of Europeans in the Americas.a
- The famous “Pilgrim and Indian” story featured in modern Thanksgiving narratives was not initially part of early Thanksgiving stories, largely due to tensions between Indians and colonists.
- The first Thanksgiving in America actually occurred in 1541, when Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his expedition held a thanksgiving celebration in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle.
- The turkeys typically depicted in Thanksgiving pictures are not the same as the domestic turkeys most people eat at Thanksgiving. Domestic turkeys usually weigh twice as much and are too large to fly.d
- The average long-distance Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles, compared with 275 miles over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.
- Americans eat roughly 535 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving.
- One of the most popular first Thanksgiving stories recalls the three-day celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Over 200 years later, President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving, and in 1941 Congress established the fourth Thursday in November as a national holiday.
- Every Thanksgiving, a group of Native Americans and their supporters gather on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning. The flyer for the event in 2006 reads, in part, “Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today.”