Thanksgiving Turkey Facts

Here in the States it’s Thanksgiving Day, which means Go Eagles and Lions! Here are a few interesting facts about Thanksgiving, courtesy of trove.com:

1. There are three places in the US named Turkey. 
Three small towns in America are named after the nation’s favorite bird. There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Louisiana, according to the US Census Bureau. Turkey Creek, Louisiana is the most populated, with 441 residents.
There are also two townships in Pennsylvania called Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.

2. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York took place in 1914 when Macy’s employees dressed in vibrant costumes and marched to the flagship store on 34th street.
The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.
It was also originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927.

3. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song. 
James Pierpoint composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas. The song quickly became associated with the Christmas holiday season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.
4. The night before Thanksgiving is the best day for bar sales in the US.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is responsible for the most bar sales in America, more than New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or even St. Patrick’s Day.
It makes sense, since nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off and dealing with family members can be very stressful. (But at least stuffing your face with fatty Thanksgiving foods is a perfect hangover cure.)
5. Thanksgiving leftovers inspired the first-ever TV dinner. 
In 1953, the TV dinner company Swanson overestimated the demand for turkey by over 260 tons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The owners of the company had no idea what to do with all the leftovers, so they enlisted the help of company salesman Gerry Thomas.
Taking inspiration from airplane meals, Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, and loaded them with the turkey leftovers to create the first TV dinner.
6. Thomas Jefferson canceled Thanksgiving during his presidency. 
George Washington was the first to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday, but it was on a year-to-year basis, so presidents had to re-declare it every year, according to the Washington Post. Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency, and many say that he called the holiday “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.”
Most historians agree that Jefferson really refused to declare the holiday because he fervently believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of “prayer” violated the First Amendment.
It wasn’t until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday, that our beloved turkey day was officially scheduled to fall on the fourth Thursday of every month.

9. FDR tried to change the date of Thanksgiving — and it caused a lot of problems. 
In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the second-to-last, according to the US National Archives.
The change was made in an attempt to lift the economy during the Great Depression, the idea being that it would give people more time to shop for Christmas.
But it ended up making everybody confused. Most states held Thanksgiving on its original date, and three states — Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas — celebrated the holiday in both weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It caused such a public outcry that people began referring to it as “Franksgiving.” After two years, Congress ditched the new policy and set the fourth Thursday of November as the legal holiday.

two more from The Blaze site:

Many credit Harry S Truman for being the first president to pardon a turkey, but the Truman Presidential Library admits there’s no documentation to substantiate that claim.

Truman’s successor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, admitted he ate the two turkeys presented to him at the White House for Thanksgiving each year during his two terms in office.

When President John F. Kennedy was presented with a turkey wearing a sign reading, “Good Eatin’, Mr. President,” Kennedy simply responded, “Let’s just keep him.”

When President Ronald Reagan was asked about possible pardons for Lt. Col. Oliver North and national security advisor John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair in 1987, he joked about pardoning a turkey, but the practice of “officially” pardoning the bird wasn’t formalized until 1989. Since then, each president has “pardoned” a turkey each year, allowing it to be spared from the roaster to instead live out the rest of its natural life.

One of the most ardent advocates for an annual national day of Thanksgiving was Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine and “Godey’s Lady’s Book.” Hale began lobbying for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in her magazines and writing to elected officials. After 36 years of persistence, Hale won her battle. Buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that Nov. 26, 1863 would be a national Thanksgiving Day and that Thanksgiving would be observed each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

So there you have it. To all Americans, Happy Thanksgiving! And if you’re not American or you aren’t celebrating, Happy Thursday!

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