Thanksgiving Traditions and Where They Come From – Memory Road

Thanksgiving Traditions and Where They Come From

Posted by Bailey Rollan on

It’s finally here! It’s Thanksgiving Week. Turkey Day is officially upon us. Soon you will be sitting down with the plate of food you have been dreaming about all month, while visiting with friends and family. Some people have holiday traditions of their own, and then there are some that are more widely celebrated. Have you ever wondered where some of these traditions began? We have compiled a list of some fun facts about Thanksgiving, along with some traditions and their history! So, before you put yourself into that long-awaited food coma, take some time to read these fun Thanksgiving facts.

 The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. It was actually of a 3-day harvest festival! Imagine that, three whole days of eating delicious food.
 Turkey was not on the original Thanksgiving menu! The first Thanksgiving menu consisted of venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish. While there was probably a “dessert” table filled with pumpkins, berries and fruit, it was not in the famous form of pie. Aside from the seafood, the traditional Thanksgiving meal has not changed much.
 Thanksgiving was declared a holiday in 1863, by Abraham Lincoln. It was only after years of Sarah Josepha Hale writing him letters that her work finally paid off, 17 years to be exact. Yet it wasn’t passed by congress until 1941, making it an official national holiday.
 4,500 – The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving!
 Butterball has their own “Butterball Turkey Hotline” and between the November/December holidays they answer about 100,000 turkey related questions.
 The tradition of Thanksgiving Football began between Yale and Princeton in 1876. The first NFL games were also played on Thanksgiving Day in 1920.
 54 million – The number of people expected to travel during Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving takes the cake, or pie, for the busiest travel day of the year.
 A turkey is pardoned every Thanksgiving. Starting in 1947 “The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” would take place at The White House, where the current US president is presented with a live turkey. Instead of it becoming the main course for the Thanksgiving meal, this turkey is pardoned and gets to live out their days on a farm.
 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, originally to spur the beginning of Christmas shopping. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people attend the parade, and about 44 million more watch it from the comfort of their homes. Personally, we love this tradition.
 280 million – The number of Turkeys sold leading up to Thanksgiving. About 95% of Americans participate in eating this delicious bird on Thanksgiving Day. While there is no official reason stating why the turkey is the preferred main dish for this day, it sure would make calling it something other than “Turkey Day” a little awkward. 
 There is an official Thanksgiving postage stamp! It was created in 2001 to commemorate the holiday. Margaret Cusack is the artist created it to resemble traditional folk-art needlework.
 Cranberries are native to North America. They have many uses in addition to being an essential side for holiday feasts. They were used for dying fabrics and making medicines by Native Americans.

 The wishbone tradition is much older than you would believe. Much older than Thanksgiving itself. It can be traced back to 322 B.C. and the Etruscan civilization. It was brought to England by the Romans, then brought to America by the colonists.

Now go out and impress your family and friends with these interesting facts about Thanksgiving. 

We wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 



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