UNITED STATES

10 random facts about Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2018, 8:53 AM | Updated: Aug 3, 2022, 2:39 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.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

In this June 5, 2019, file photo, Morgan Wallen arrives at the CMT Music Awards on at the Bridgesto...

Associated Press

Recently arrested Morgan Wallen says he’s “not proud” of behavior

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music star Morgan Wallen, who faces charges stemming in part from accusations that he threw a chair off the rooftop of a six-story bar, says he’s “not proud” of his behavior and accepts responsibility. The “One Thing at a Time” singer responded publicly Friday night on social media to his […]

19 hours ago

Former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state's most belo...

ANDREW DeMILLO Associated Press

David Pryor, former governor and senator of Arkansas, dies at age 89

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state’s most beloved political figures and remained active in public service in the state long after he left office, has died. He was 89. Pryor, who went undercover to investigate nursing homes while a congressman, […]

21 hours ago

The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge lay on top of the container ship Dali, Monday, April 15, 202...

Associated Press

Third temporary channel opens for vessels to Baltimore port after bridge collapse

A third temporary channel located to the northeast of the fallen bridge is meant to help boats to access the Port of Baltimore.

24 hours ago

Pro-Palestinian activists demonstrate outside the Capitol in Washington....

Stephen Groves and Lisa Mascaro

The House passes billions in aid for Ukraine and Israel after months of struggle

A $26 billion package aiding Israel and providing humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza passed through the House today.

1 day ago

A man carries a Free TikTok sign in front of the courthouse where the hush-money trial of Donald Tr...

Mary Clare Jalonick and Haleluya Hadero

The House votes for possible TikTok ban in the US, but don’t expect the app to go away anytime soon

The House has passed legislation that would ban TikTok in the United States, but that doesn't mean the app is going anywhere anytime soon.

1 day ago

two people shown with wraps over themselves as they use the cbp one app...

Peter Johnston

Utah lawmakers push bill to stop undocumented immigrants from boarding planes

The CBP One app allows people immigrating to the U.S. to set up an appointment with customs before they land at a port of entry.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

10 random facts about Thanksgiving