Do you need something to talk about during Thanksgiving dinner? While everyone is stuffing their faces with delicious food, break out some of these fun Thanksgiving facts you may not have known about.
1. Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until 200 years later
President Lincoln wasn’t convinced until 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after it was campaigned for for 17 years.
2. No turkey was served in the beginning
Historians believe that there was no turkey served at the first Thanksgiving. Instead, they had duck, geese, venison, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish.
3. No forks!
Can you imagine this being possible? The first Thanksgiving feast was eaten with spoons and knives. The Pilgrims didn’t even know what forks were at the time.
4. Nearly all Americans eat Turkey
More than ninety percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but only 50% of them eat turkey with stuffing on the inside. So good!
5. The reason we have TV dinners
Well, this makes sense. There was so much turkey left over, they decided to package it with other delicious sides like potatoes and vegetables in aluminum trays to save for later.
6. Presidential pardon
Every year, the U.S. President spares a turkey from being eaten at Thanksgiving dinner. President Truman pardoned the first turkey back in 1947. President Obama pardoned a Turkey named Courage. Courage weighs 45 pounds!
7. Benjamin Franklin didn’t want the eagle to be the national bird
Can you guess what he wanted instead? Yup, the turkey!
8. Americans eat 46 million turkeys each year on Thanksgiving
This is actually pretty sad. Pity the poor birds!
9. Turkey weight
The average turkey weighs 15 pounds!
10. Gobble, gobble!
Did you know female turkeys don’t gobble? Only the male turkeys do.
11. Turkeys are fast!
If a wild turkey is frightened, it can run up to 20 miles per hour.
12. Turkeys aren’t the only popular Thanksgiving symbol
Corn is actually a popular symbol of Thanksgiving, too. They can be different colors, too. Some Americans even believed that blue and white corn were sacred.
13. Out of the United States, those in California eat the most turkey on Thanksgiving
They must be pretty tired after eating so much turkey!
14. Turkey was here longer than you imagined
Evidence of fossils showed that turkeys were in the Americas 10 million years ago.
15. Places named after Turkey
This is a cool fact. Some places in the U.S. are named after Thanksgiving’s main course, such as Turkey Creek, Louisiana, Turkey, North Carolina, and Turkey, Texas. Just imagine when someone asks where you’re from: “Oh, I live in Turkey.”
16. Why Thursday?
Well, President Abraham Lincoln decided Thanksgiving should be the fourth Thursday in November. When President Roosevelt tried moving it up a week, it didn’t catch on and was changed back. Roosevelt thought it would help the shopping season during the Depression era.