10 Random Facts About Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2018, 8:53 AM | Updated: 1:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Thanksgiving debunked? The origins of the holiday may not include turkey, has ties to a children’s nursery rhyme – oh, and that tryptophan thing? That’s a myth. Here’s the lowdown on your family gathering.

1. The First Thanksgiving dinner may not have involved turkey.

Historians aren’t actually sure if turkey was on the menu at the First Thanksgiving in 1621. Wild turkey was popular in the region and a common food source for the colony but they also ate other birds like geese, swans and ducks. Men were sent on “fowling” missions and expected to return with meat in preparation of a three-day feeding event.documents thanksgiving

2. The “Mother of Thanksgiving”

The author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb, Sarah J. Hale, is also nicknamed “The Mother of Thanksgiving.” Hale wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward in 1863 asking for the declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

3. The first Macy’s Parade involved live animals.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally called the “Macy’s Christmas Parade” and promoted the start of the holiday shopping season. The first parade was held in 1924 and “included a menagerie of circus mainstay, including monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants, all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.”

In 1927, the live animals were replaced with inflatable ones.

macy's parade christmas parade

(Credit: Macy’s)

4. Snoopy has been spotted in the Macy’s Parade more than any other character.

In 1968, Snoopy made his debut at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Snoopy made 39 appearances before he was replaced with Charlie Brown in 2016, reports Mental Floss.

snoopy dog parade

(Credit: Macy’s)

5. Benjamin Franklin viewed the turkey as the possible national bird.

Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter stating, “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our County… For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird.”

In 1775, Franklin made a good case for the Rattlesnake to be an appropriate symbol of “the temper and conduct of America.”

6. “Jingle Bells” started out as a Thanksgiving song.

James Pierpont’s original 1857 song titled “One Horse Open Sleigh” was originally composed for Thanksgiving.

The tune became so popular around Christmas that in 1859 the title was changed to “Jingle Bells.”

7. Studies say turkey’s tryptophan is not why you’re tired after the meal.

Over-eating is actually the real reason you are feeling tired after the annual meal.

Doctors call it “postprandial fatigue,” which means once you’ve had a big meal your body will want to shutdown and drift off to sleep. Many countries have siestas after big meals due to this normal bodily reaction.

8. The first professional Thanksgiving Day football game was in 1920.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame shows six games played on Thanksgiving on November 25, 1920:

    • Akron Pros vs. Canton Bulldogs
    • Elyria Athletics vs. Columbus Panhandles
    • Decatur Staleys vs. Chicago Tigers
    • Dayton Triangles vs. Detroit Heralds
    • Chicago Boosters vs. Hammond Pros
    • All-Tonawanda vs. Rochester Jeffersons

9. Have turkey related questions?

Butterball has had a “Turkey Talk-Line” open for over 35 years during November and December.

Butterball experts have been answering more than 100,000 turkey related questions from thousands of households around the United States and Canada.

10. Black Friday, AKA Brown Friday?

Plumbing companies say the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for their company. After meal preparation and clean up post-Thanksgiving, plumbers stay busy unclogging sinks, disposals and toilets.

According to Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleaning, Black Friday is “Brown Friday.”

Today’s Top Stories

United States

A woman pumps gas at a gas station....
Britt Johnson

Could a gas strike work? One expert doubts it

A gas strike effort by Tucson residents caught social media attention recently, but could a strike actually drive prices down?
23 hours ago
This June 5, 2013, image provided by the California Department of Water Resources shows a drip irri...
JESSICA DAMIANO Associated Press

Tips for growing a healthy garden during drought

Watering needs for plants could increase during periods of extreme heat, when the soil dries out more quickly.
2 days ago
Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut has gobbled his way to a 15th win at the Natha...

Joey Chestnut is chomp champ again in July 4 hot dog contest

NEW YORK (AP) — Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut put a protester in a chokehold while gobbling his way to a 15th win Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, powering down 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual exhibition of excess. In a decisive chowdown comeback, women’s record-holder […]
3 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
7 days ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
7 days ago
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.