Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that none of you are reading this. I hope that you are fortunate enough that you are surrounded with family and friends, not sitting at your computer scouring the web for history blog post.

But maybe you are like me…waiting for your wife to get ready. Ready and waiting, with nothing but time to kill.

Or maybe you are traveling today, and as the passenger, you have nothing better to do. I had a few minutes, so I wanted to help you cut out the boring post, and give you a few great sites to visit.

So if just have three minutes to kill, check out this list of Thanksgiving Fast Facts, from About.com.

  • While most Americans think of the Pilgrims as celebrating the first Thanksgiving in America, there are some claims that others in the New World should be recognized as first. For example, in Texas there is a marker that says, “Feast of the First Thanksgiving – 1541.”
  • The date of what is typically recognized as the first Thanksgiving is not precisely known though it occurred between September 21 and November 9, 1621. The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians for the first Thanksgiving.
  • The First Thanksgiving lasted for three days.
  • According to Edward Winslow, a participant in the first Thanksgiving, the feast consisted of corn, barley, fowl including wild turkeys and waterfowl, and venison.
  • 52 Pilgrims attended the first Thanksgiving in 1621 including John Alden, William Bradford, Priscilla Mullins, and Miles Standish.
  • Approximately 50 Native Americans attended the first Thanksgiving including Massasoit and Squanto – the Pilgrim’s translator.
  • The First Thanksgiving was actually a secular event that was not repeated. A Calvinist Thanksgiving actually did occur in 1623 and did not involve sharing food with the Native Americans.
  • The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was declared in 1775 by the Continental Congress. This was to celebrate the win at Saratoga during the American Revolution. However, this was not an annual event.
  • In 1863, two national days of Thanksgiving were declared: One celebrated the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. The other began the Thanksgiving holiday we still celebrate today.
  • The author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Sarah Josepha Hale, was key in getting Thanksgiving officially recognized as a national holiday.
  • Each year the President officially declares a day of National Thanksgiving.
  • Since Harry Truman, every president has pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

If you aren’t familiar with the picture above, it is the work of Normal Rockwell. Look how happy everyone is. Hopefully your day will look like this. 🙂

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m home with a cold, but I liked your list of factoids. Here’s one in return: If you look down at the pair of women’s profiles one up from the bottom on each side of the painting, the white-haired lady is Rockwell’s Mom, and the auburn-haired one is his wife.

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