5 Interesting Facts about Thanksgiving

5 Interesting Facts about Thanksgiving

Did you know that at the very first Thanksgiving meal not a single turkey was eaten? Impress your dinner guests with a few interesting anecdotes about this American holiday!

Every fourth Thursday in November families in the USA come together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this holiday centres around a feast where copious amounts of turkey are served with all kinds of side dishes, which usually include sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, winter squash and corn bread. Afterwards, people tend to watch an American Football game together, or they mentally prepare for Christmas by trying to pick out Santa Claus from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Impress Your Friends with these Thanksgiving Facts:


We Have Thanksgiving to Thank for TV Dinners!

In 1953 the major meat producer Swanson and Sons hugely miscalculated the demand for turkey at Thanksgiving – by 26 tons, to be precise! As necessity is the mother of invention, they then had the following brilliant idea: the frozen meat was divided into portions, packaged together with several side dishes and sold as a meal. And with that the TV dinner was born!

The Turkey Was Once Supposed to Become the Heraldic Animal of the USA!

TurkeyAccording to legend, Benjamin Franklin supposedly once suggested the turkey as the heraldic animal for the USA. This rumour is based on a letter written by Franklin in which he criticises the selection of the bald eagle as the US heraldic animal:

[…] For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. […] I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… […]”

The Land of the Turkey!

In the USA, there are a number of places that have the word “turkey” in their name: the most populous of these “Turkey Places” is Turkey Creek, Louisiana, boasting a whole 440 inhabitants. There is also a Turkey in Texas, North Carolina and a Turkey Creek in Arizona. And we shouldn’t forget to include Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot in Pennsylvania in our list!

Turkeys Pardoned by the President!

Every year the serving US president selects a turkey to be spared and therefore not eaten at Thanksgiving. The first “turkey pardoning ceremony” took place in 1947 under President Truman. Last year, President Obama pardoned a 20.5 kg turkey named Courage.

Turkey on the Moon!

The first meal that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had after their moon walk was roast turkey, wrapped in aluminium foil.

With this background knowledge in your arsenal, you can now be confident initiating conversations at your next dinner party! We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and, of course, bon appetit!


allparenting.com. 20 Fun Facts that will totally impress the kids. URL: http://www.allparenting.com/my-life/articles/969379/20-thanksgiving-fun-facts-to-teach-kids (as of: 30/10/2015)
Wikipedia. TV dinner. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_dinner (as of: 30/10/2015)
Wikipedia. Swanson. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swanson#TV_dinner_introduced (as of: 30/10/2015)
Wikipedia. Fertiggericht. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertiggericht (as of 30/10/2015)
CNN. 10 fun facts we bet you didn’t know about Thanksgiving. URL: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/28/living/thanksgiving-fun-facts/ (as of: 30/10/2015)
Smithsonian.com. American Myths. URL: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/american-myths-benjamin-franklins-turkey-and-the-presidential-seal-6623414/?no-ist (as of: 30/10/2015)