In honor of Thanksgivings Ultimate Bride will be closed for the holiday:
8 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Thanksgiving
We have come to know Thanksgiving as an opportunity to express our gratitude and stuff ourselves with mashed potatoes, but the holiday’s history is a bit more involved than that. The story of Thanksgiving is one of spectacle, entrepreneurial spirit, and economic recovery—and of course, feasting.
A woman named Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied Congress for years to make Thanksgiving an official holiday.
If it wasn’t for this determined woman, Thanksgiving wouldn’t exist today. Hale’s allegiance to Thanksgiving began in 1827 and was based in national pride; she hoped to make it “permanently, an American custom and institution.” It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln finally declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Seeing as the President did this in throws of the Civil War, Thanksgiving is considered by some to be an attempt on behalf of the president to bring some peace back to the country.
Originally, Thanksgiving may not have been celebrated in November at all, but rather mid-October.
There isn’t clear historical information on the actual date of the first Thanksgiving. President Lincoln assigned the holiday to fall on the last Thursday in November, possibly to coincide with the date the Pilgrims first landed the Mayflower in New England.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving to one week earlier.
The late President hoped that a lengthened holiday shopping season would increase spending and alleviate the crippling Depression. This resulted in two consecutive years of conflicting Thanksgiving Day celebrations, as some states refused to recognize the change.
By 1941, FDR gave in and signed a bill making the fourth Thursday in November the official date for Thanksgiving nationwide, regardless of whether it’s the last Thursday of the month or not. For years that November starts mid-week, like 2018 when November 1 was a Thursday, this means a holiday that falls much earlier in the month (November 22, to be precise.) So if you’re feeling like turkey day snuck up on you this year, now you know why.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
Though the parade stretched just two blocks, New York City went all out for what newspapers were calling “a marathon of mirth.” In addition to four bands, a large Santa float, and costumed Macy’s employees, also participating in the parade were bears, elephants, camels, and monkeys from the zoo.
Thanksgiving leftovers led to the first ever TV dinner.
The influential food corporation Swanson & Sons overestimated how much turkeywould be consumed on Thanksgiving and had to get creative with the 260 tons of leftover meat. Behold: prepackaged frozen meals.
The menu for the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth—which took place in 1621—likely included lobster, seal, and swans.
No, turkey did not RSVP. The friendly feast between Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans lasted for three days, during which both parties contributed to the meal. Though there are few records of the actual menu, it is known that the Pilgrims hunted for local fowl (swans very much included) and the Wampanoag brought five deer.
There is a Canadian Thanksgiving, but it’s much different.
It’s celebrated in October and falls on a Monday. The celebration isn’t centered around Native Americans and Pilgrims, but shopping instead. Over the centuries, their holiday tradition has changed from crop festivals, to explorations, to battle victories, and finally a general opportunity to give thanks and express gratitude (not unlike the American celebration).
The British don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving, but they do celebrate “Brits-giving.”
Oh yes, it’s a real thing. The British increasingly embrace the American tradition to celebrate gratitude and national pride. But it wouldn’t be a true British tribute without their own unique take on the holiday. Hence, the origination of “Brits-giving.” Whatever they want to call the compassionate tradition, we’re happy to welcome them to our table.
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