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November 18, 2005

Thanksgiving Facts . . .

Courtesy About.com.

When was the first Thanksgiving celebration held?

The Plymouth Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving celebration in the fall of 1621.

What was the reason for holding a Thanksgiving celebration?

On December 11, 1620 the first Pilgrims (or Puritans, as they were initially known) landed at Plymouth Rock. By the fall of 1621, of the hundred or so passengers who had sailed on the Mayflower, only half were still alive. (Of these, only four were adult women and almost forty percent were children.) The survivors, thankful to be still alive, decided to give a feast.

What was the name of the Wampanoag chief that was invited to the first Thanksgiving feast?

His name was Massasoit. Some ninety Wampanoag tribesmen were present at the feast.

What was the name of the Pilgrim leader who invited the neighboring Wampanoag to the first Thanksgiving?

It was Governor William Bradford who invited them. The reason they were invited is because they were the ones who taught the Pilgrims to cultivate the land, thus making it possible for them to survive.

How long did the first Thanksgiving celebration last?

It lasted three days (the celebration consisted of games as well as food).

Which president proclaimed the first "National Day of Thanksgiving"?

George Washington (in 1789 and then again in 1795).

Even though Thanksgiving was observed most years, it was not an official holiday. What is the name of the woman credited with making Thanksgiving a national holiday?

Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She began her Thanksgiving campaign in 1827.

Which president made Washington's "National Day of Thanksgiving" a national holiday?

On October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued a "Thanksgiving Proclamation" that made the last Thursday in November a national holiday. (Before that, the president had to make an annual proclamation naming the day when Thanksgiving was going to be held.)

Who was the last president to change the date of the Thanksgiving holiday?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the Thursday before last (the reason was to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy).

What happened in 1941?

Congress passed an official proclamation naming Thanksgiving a legal holiday to be observed, from that date forward, on the fourth Thursday in November.

Last but not least...

Who wanted to make the turkey the national bird of the United States of America?

Benjamin Franklin, but he was opposed by Thomas Jefferson. Legend has it that Franklin then named the male turkey a "tom turkey" to spite Jefferson. (The female is called a "hen turkey" and the baby a "poult.")

What part of the turkey is used in a good luck ritual?

The wishbone.

What drink did the Puritans bring with them in the Mayflower?


Hooray Beer! (Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

Posted by Stephanie at November 18, 2005 01:04 AM

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