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Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving I Bet You Never Knew!

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Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving I Bet You Never Knew!


Interesting Facts I Bet You Never Knew About Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day is a time to offer thanks, for family gatherings and a scrumptious holiday meal.  It is a time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  A time for Indian corn, holiday parades, and giant balloons.  A time for laughter and good times.

Thanksgiving Dinner Decor
Thanksgiving Dinner Decor

Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a tradition from the early days by settlers in America in commemoration of a safe journey and a good harvest.

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Brown and Orange Turkey, Set of Two [More]

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Did you know that no one knows the exact date of the first Thanksgiving meal? The best historians can come up with is somewhere in the fall of 1621. The settlers, known as Pilgrims, came to America to freely practice their religion. They arrived in November, when it was too late to plant crops. Although many people died, the Pilgrims’ settlement survived the winter because of help from Native Americans who lived nearby. They taught the Pilgrims about corn and showed them where to fish. The next November, after the crops were harvested, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God at a feast to which they invited the Native Americans. The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. The third year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate – November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

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These cuties are ready for Thanksgiving!
These cuties are ready for Thanksgiving!

So how did Thanksgiving become a national holiday designated on the last Thursday of November? The answer to this question is deep within the history of United States’ politics.

President George Washington made the first proclamation of Thanksgiving in 1789. The proclamation was not to give thanks to the pilgrims but to give public thanks and prayers for the ability to peacefully establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.  He again made the proclamation in 1795. Then New York officially made Thanksgiving Day as an annual holiday in 1817.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to become the national bird but Thomas Jefferson opposed it. It is believed that Benjamin Franklin then decided to name the male turkey ‘tom’ to spite Thomas Jefferson’s rejection of his idea. Thomas Jefferson did offer proclamations of Thanksgiving as governor but was hesitant to do so as president as he believed in the separation of church and state.

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In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as the day to celebrate Thanksgiving by giving his proclamation to the nation and asking his fellow citizens to give prayer and public thanks. His proclamation was about giving thanks for the bounties which the United States enjoyed, as well as population growth, but to also give prayer that the Civil War would come to an end and bring unity back to the nation in peace and prosperity.

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When the United States fell into the great depression, it was upon President Roosevelt’s shoulder to lead a nation through difficult times.  In 1939, President Roosevelt restored Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November in an effort to extend the Christmas shopping season to stimulate the economy.  In 1941, Congress passed legislation to declare Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday and is to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November every year.

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I also have some articles on the brief history of stained glasshand carved wood, handmade pottery from Nicaragua, handcrafted wood decor, stained glass lamps, handcrafted wooden boxes called Waka Huia, handcrafted wreaths, tapestries, the beauty of stained glass, pottery by hand, people that create art with their hands, and carving wood into art.  I hope you take a few moments to read them and thanks so much! For more about me, go to the About Me page above.
Also check out my post on quick and easy winter home decor fixes for your master bedroom and my post on 4 simple winter home décor ideas to make your living room cozy this winter!

A Thanksgiving of Yesteryear A Thanksgiving of Yesteryear

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6 thoughts on “Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving I Bet You Never Knew!

  1. What a heartwarming article!
    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because, like Christmas, it fosters a sense of family and togetherness. We have similar Thanksgiving customs and traditions up here in Canada as well, including a big turkey dinner.

    I had no idea that the turkey was recommended to be the national bird of the States. How different that would have been!

    1. I appreciate your comment.  I would love to hear more about your Thanksgiving customs in Canada!  I have lots of wild turkeys around my home and it’s kind of fun to think they could have been our noble national bird! 

  2. Hey Brenda:

    Thanks for this post detailing the history about my favorite holiday.

    I, too, agree with Ben Franklin that the turkey is a noble (if somewhat dumb) bird. I wonder what would have happened if America had chosen it as the symbol of our country.

    Instead of hunting for glory (and being predatory) maybe we’d have opted for peace, giving thanks, and feeding folks. What a concept!

  3. What an interesting read! It’s crazy to think that Thanksgiving wasn’t a national holiday until 1941. I would have liked to ask my grandparents about their first times celebrating. I can’t even imagine Thanksgiving without the Macy’s Day parade.

    And to think the turkey could have been the national bird?! I’m thankful that Thomas Jefferson nixed that idea. The Bald Eagle is a much better fit for America.

    Thanks for the great informational read!

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