Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of this American holiday, here are some interesting facts about Thanksgiving!
- The first Thanksgiving service known to be held in North America occurred on May 27, 1578 in Newfoundland. (Smithsonian)
- After a long, harsh winter that left the Pilgrims malnourished and weak, a Native American man named Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish and avoid poisonous plants. The Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving feast with their Native American allies in November 1621, following their first successful corn harvest. The celebration lasted for three days, and because of low sugar supplies, it likely did not feature any pie, cakes, or other desserts. (History Channel)
- The guest list of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving featured 53 colonists and 90 Wampanoag Native Americans. (History Channel)
- Thanksgiving became an annual holiday thanks to the hard work of Sarah Josepha Hale, who published stories and recipes, and sent letters to government officials asking to establish the holiday starting in 1827. After 36 years of lobbying for the holiday, President Lincoln proclaimed on October 3, 1863 that Thanksgiving would be celebrated every year, on the fourth Thursday of November. (Smithsonian)
- Americans eat an average of 13.3 pounds of turkey per year. Almost 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, more than double the amount of turkey eaten during Christmas and Easter combined. (History Channel)