1. The first thanksgiving was held in 1621 and was attended by 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians (and possibly a few frogs). The festivities lasted three days. Many historians believe that there were only five women present at this first Thanksgiving. Why? Because many of the original Pilgrim women didn't survive that first horrible winter.
2. Thanksgiving didn't become a holiday until over 200 years later. Sarah J. Hale, the woman who penned the song "Mary Had a Little Lamb" convinced President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years campaigning for this to happen.
3. No turkey was offered on the first Thanksgiving Day menu. What did they serve? Venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish. It was probably the first "surf and turf" meal to be served. And pumpkins? They did probably eat pumpkin but not as pie.
4. There were no forks at the first Thanksgiving. They hadn't been invented yet! All the Pilgrims had were spoons and knives. The first forks didn't come into existence for another ten years and weren't a popular eating utensil until the 18th century.
5. Thanksgiving was supposed to be a fast. Yep, that's right. The Pilgrims intended for their celebration of the first bountiful harvest to be a fast. That was until the Wampanoag Indians showed up. Luckily, they turned the Pilgrim's fast into a three-day feast! A day of fasting wouldn't be nearly as much fun to celebrate. Thank you, Wampanoags!
6. Thanksgiving is the reason we have TV dinners. In 1953 the food company Swanson had so much leftover turkey...260 tons!...that a salesman suggested packaging it in aluminum trays, along with other side dishes and, voilà! The TV dinner was born.
7. Why is Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November? President Abe Lincoln declared that every year, the fourth Thursday in November would be celebrated as Thanksgiving. But in 1939. President Roosevelt moved it up a week, hoping to boost shopping during the Depression era. It never caught on and, two years later, was switched back.
8. Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour when scared. Domesticated turkeys which tend to be heavier, can't run that fast.
9. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to America's national bird, not the bald eagle.
10. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first meal in space, after walking on the moon, were foil packages of roast turkey.
I hope you enjoyed these facts and trivia. Beginning tomorrow morning, Wednesday, I will be on holiday until the 26th of November. I will be back at my keyboard bright and early On Monday the 27th. I hope you'll come back and join me once again.
Until then, the Tea Toad, Dharma Frog, and I wish each and every one of a beautiful and thankful week ahead.