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Thanksgiving in essence is an annual celebration of the blessings of the (agricultural) year and to say thanks for the harvest. In the USA, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

The first Thanksgiving celebrationMost Americans associate Thanksgiving Day with the 1621 Plymouth Colony (Massachusetts) feast by the Pilgrims, shared with local Wampanoag Indians, although it is of dubious origin and authenticity.

Be it as it may, this is one of the most popular official Holidays, because it brings together the family around the table. The meal traditionally includes turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving Countdown

Here are a few lesser-known and interesting facts about Thanksgiving:

  • Excluding the Plymouth event, there are twelve other claims to the “first” Thanksgiving: 5 in Massachusetts, 2 in Texas, 2 in Florida, 2 in Virginia, and 1 in Maine.
  • The Plymouth Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
  • Traditional Thanksgiving MealIn the US, approximately 535 million pounds of turkey is eaten on Thanksgiving.
  • The tradition of a Presidential pardon of (two) Thanksgiving turkeys began in 1947,
  • Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), the so-called “Mother of Thanksgiving”, whose efforts helped in getting Thanksgiving declared a national holiday, amongst many other things, was the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
  • The Thanksgiving football tradition began with Yale versus Princeton in 1876.
  • The U.S. Postal Service issued a Thanksgiving stamp in 2001 to honor the tradition “of being thankful for the abundance of goods we enjoy in America”.
  • Thanksgiving Day is the busiest travel day of the year.
  • The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the US started in 1920 when Gimbels department store in Philadelphia held a parade with approximately 50 people and a Santa Claus.
  • The famous Macy’s Parade is the second oldest Thanksgiving parade, with more than 44 million people annually watching it on TV, while about 3 million attend the parade in person.
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, that can be as early as November 22, and as late as November 28.
  • The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and has been a shopping and sales tradition since the 1930s. It is so named because stores hope it will get them out of the red and into profits (traditionally indicated with black pen on bookkeeping ledgers).

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