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Thanksgiving Day Trivia

There’s always a point during Thanksgiving dinner when bellies are full and lethargy sets in. Conversation lulls and yawns commence as family and guests wait for that pumpkin pie.

This year, engage your loved ones in a lively discussion by offering up some interesting trivia about the holiday. We’ve gathered a list of ten facts about Thanksgiving that are sure to make people think!

We bet there are a few things on this list that will surprise everyone!

The First Thanksgiving Trivia

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in the fall of 1621 after surviving a year in the New World.

It was held in Plymouth, MA and attended by the local Wampanoag Native American tribe, who had helped the pilgrims cultivate land and make it through the winter.

The feast lasted three days.

The food served at the first Thanksgiving resembled nothing like we serve today. Lobster, rabbit, chicken, leeks, radishes, cabbage, eggs, and goat cheese were among the food presented then.

Thanksgiving Date Trivia

Until 1863, when President Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, presidents made 'Thanksgiving Proclamations' to declare when it would be held.

To spur the struggling economy in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Thanksgiving occur on the third Thursday of November, making the holiday shopping season longer.

It remained that way until 1941, when Congress declared Thanksgiving to be held on the fourth Thursday of November once more.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Trivia

The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924. It featured Central Park zoo animals, people in costumes, and floats.

The first large helium-filled balloon was of Felix the Cat in 1927.

Each year, more than 2 million people line the streets of New York City to watch the parade.

The parade began airing on network television in 1948 and is now seen by roughly 50 million people at home.

Turkey Trivia

The bald eagle may be our national bird, but Benjamin Franklin had hoped it would be the turkey. Thomas Jefferson opposed the idea vehemently. It is said that to retaliate, Franklin dubbed male turkeys as “toms,” after Jefferson. 

In 2010, 242 million turkeys are being raised to grace tables on Thanksgiving.

Turkey farmers (as a whole) can expect to rake in $4.1 billion in turkey sales this year.

91% of American homes will serve turkey, even though there is no historic tie to the bird. Turkey is served because it is readily available.

Black Friday Trivia

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is known at the official start of the holiday season.

The phrase was coined by the Philadelphia Police in 1966, who were not happy about the traffic the day brought to their city.

“Black Friday” gained more exposure in 1975 after being written about heavily in newspapers.


The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. Is it time for pie yet?

Michele Johansen is a writer in Bellevue, WA. She is the co-creator of the Ruby Slipper Guide, a website that lists activities and events for families living east of Seattle and blog that delves into the foils of parenting.

Topic(s): Thanksgiving

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