10 things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving Day

By: |
November 27, 2014 4:25 PM

Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, it is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest

Today, people across the world are honouring Thanksgiving. Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, it is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is ruled by two very powerful f-words: ‘food’ and ‘football’. Well, American football; but still. And food means turkey; just lots and lots of turkey.

foodpanda a mobile and online food ordering marketplace has selected the most interesting trivia around Thanksgiving to give you an insight in this appetizing American tradition.

1. The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and was a three-day rager. The Wampanoag Indians, who joined the Plymouth Pilgrims for their three-day celebration, contributed their own harvest traditions— dancing, games and feasting. The Thanksgiving Menu in 1621 was; Wild goose or duck, Wild turkey, Deer, Fish, Shellfish, Eels

2. President Abraham Lincoln was convinced to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 by Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who also wrote the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

3. The first ‘TV dinner’ was Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the reason ‘Prepackaged Meals’ exist. In 1953, the Swanson company misjudged and overestimated the amount of turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving. With 260 tons of frozen birds to get rid of, a company salesman named Gerry Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, recruited women armed with spatulas and ice cream scoops and began creating mini-feasts of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes– creating the first ever TV dinner. The brilliant idea derived from the neatly packaged airplane food.

4. A hallowed tradition: The presidential turkey pardons

There’s debate over which president first pardoned a turkey. The annual White House tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving began in 1947, when President Harry Truman took pity on one lucky fowl. Other historians say the practice began during the 1860s, when Abraham Lincoln granted a pardon to a pet turkey belonging to his son, Tad.

5. More than 46 million turkeys are eaten that day in America. That is equal with the population of Spain. Total weight of turkeys raised in one year in America: seven billion pounds. That’s nearly the weight of 10 Empire State buildings.

6. Almost 10 per cent of Americans eat Turduckens

A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. It’s like a Russian babushka doll only with poultry. Other modern pilgrims settle for a tofu version (“tofurkey”) or the wildly dangerous “deep-fried turkey.”

7. Turkeys can drown if they look up when it is raining.

8. Turkeys easily suffer from heart attacks. When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.

9. Only male turkeys, called toms, gobble. Females, called hens, cackle.

Male turkeys are called gobblers, because they are the only ones that can make that gobbling sound. Each male turkey has his own unique gobbling ‘technique,’ which he combines with strutting to attract potential mates.

10. They blush:

When a turkey becomes frightened, agitated, excited or ill, the exposed skin on its head and neck can change from its usual pale pink or bluish gray color to red, white, or blue. And during mating season, the male turkey’s wattle turns scarlet to reflect his elevated sex hormone levels. The fleshy flap of skin that hangs over the gobbler’s beak is called a snood and also turns bright red when the bird is excited.

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