Thanksgiving Facts Roundup

For those of you in the United States who are about to celebrate Thanksgiving and want to look particularly knowledgey at your family get-together, here is a roundup of all the Thanksgiving related articles we’ve made here at TodayIFoundOut for you to peruse. Or, you know- don’t. But when there are awkward pauses in the conversation at your Thanksgiving parties, you’ll have only yourself to blame. 😉

Sarah-haleThe Author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was Largely Responsible for the Establishment of the United States’ Thanksgiving Holiday and Most of What We Traditionally Eat During It

Sarah Josepha Hale, one of the great women in American history, campaigned for nearly 20 years to get Thanksgiving made a national holiday.  It previously was only celebrated, as we think of it, in New England; although, some other regions had similar events at differing times of the year and often multiple times a year. Basically, whenever something particularly good happened, it was common to have a day of thanks, usually directed to God, though most of these days little resembled what we think of as Thanksgiving.  Often these were days for fasting and offering prayers of thanks. During her campaign, which spanned five presidents before she found one that was open to her idea in Abraham Lincoln, she continually lobbied various congressmen;… (more)

pilgrimsThe Pilgrims Did Not Celebrate the First Thanksgiving in America

The Pilgrims did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America. In fact, the particular Pilgrim event that is often cited as the first Thanksgiving wasn’t even the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving. They had several before then at various times and none of them were an annual thing. These days were simply a particular time where they had something significant to thank God about, so would set aside a day to do so. Around the time the Pilgrims came… (more)

jingle-bellsThe Song “Jingle Bells” Is Thought to Have Been Written for a Thanksgiving Sunday School Program

Jingle Bells was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh and was written by James Pierpont sometime between 1853 and 1857. At the time, Pierpont was working as an organist and music director in Savannah, Georgia.  Pierpont was hired on by his brother, John Pierpont Jr. who was the Reverend there, after James’ business in San Francisco burned down.  It was here that he composed One Horse Open Sleigh, reportedly for a Thanksgiving program. He later publicly released… (more)

black-fridayWhy the Day After Thanksgiving is Called “Black Friday”

“Black Friday” as a name for the day after Thanksgiving was coined by police officers in New England. One of the earliest documented references of this was in December of 1961, where Denny Griswold of Public Relations News stated: “in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by… merchants with their Deputy City Representative… He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday.” (Referring to the traffic and number of accidents.) “Big Friday” never caught on, but over the next decade,… (more)

lions-e1289984355554How the Tradition of the Detroit Lions Playing on Thanksgiving Got Started

In 1934, radio executive G.A. Richards bought the Portsmouth, Ohio Spartans NFL team, moved them to Detroit, and renamed them the Lions.  Unfortunately for him, nobody in Detroit cared much for watching the Lions.  Despite winning all their games but one before Thanksgiving, having several stars of the day, and one super star in Earl “Dutch” Clark, the average turn out for each game was only around 12,000 people. At the time, it was… (more)

turkey-strut-e1288834018876Why Turkeys Are Called Turkeys

In the 16th century, when North American turkeys were first introduced en masse to Europe, there was another bird that was popularly imported throughout Europe and, most relevant to this article, England, called a guinea fowl.  This guinea fowl was imported from Madagascar via the Ottoman Empire.  The merchants who did this were, thus, known as “turkey merchants”.  The guinea fowl themselves eventually were popularly referred to as “turkey fowl”, similar to how other product imported through the Ottoman Empire acquired their names, such as… (more)

428px-Gheorghe_Tattarescu_-_Pelerin-340x475The Pilgrims Didn’t Wear All Black and White Clothing with Buckled Top Hats

The myth that they dressed like this stems from the popular clothing style of the day in England in the late 17th century, which carried over to 18th and 19th century depictions. Artist depictions, at that time, depicted Pilgrims having worn the same style clothing that had become the fashion in England. These depictions of the Pilgrims’ clothing then endured to this day. In fact, historical records of Pilgrims’ clothing, such as the passenger list of the Mayflower, wills, which included… (more)

trytophan-reaction-e1280395255756Turkey Does Not Make You Drowsy After You Eat It

Now to be clear, turkey does contain tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an amino acid which the human body doesn’t naturally produce, but is essential to proper body function and, thus, must be acquired from food.  The reason tryptophan is tied to drowsiness is that it is used by your body to create serotonin.  Serotonin, among other things, acts as a calming agent in the brain and plays a key role in sleep.  So with turkey containing tryptophan, one would logically say it would make you sleepy after you eat it… except, this isn’t actually the case. So, why not?  Primarily because… (more)

teen-suicide-340x236The Holiday Season Has the Lowest Suicide Rate of Any Time of the Year, Not the Highest

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the holiday season actually is the time of the year when there are the least amount of suicides with the lowest point being December 1st and the lowest rate of the year by month being in December. The highest suicide rates actually appear during Spring time and then peak once again during Fall. So where does this myth come from? The exact origins… (more)

Black-friday-walmart-bfcomBlack Friday Is Not the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

Black Friday is not the biggest shopping day of the year. In fact, it’s typically not even in the top five, though has cracked the ranks a few times in recent years. The real biggest shopping day of the year is nearly always the Saturday before Christmas, excepting a few occasions where it typically then ends up being the Thursday or Friday before Christmas, when Christmas falls on a weekend day. Thus, the procrastinators seem to… (more)

thanksgiving-facts10 Fascinating Thanksgiving Facts

Fact #1: The author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was largely responsible for the establishment of the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Fact #2: The date of Thanksgiving was once changed to try to boost the economy.  Fact #3: Why we eat what we eat on Thanksgiving.  Fact #4: What was actually served at the “first” Thanksgiving.  Fact #5: Thanksgiving holidays were once commonly celebrated throughout the year by Europeans and Americans… (more here with details)

thanksgiving10 Thanksgiving Myths Dispelled

Myth #1: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to the harvest festival.  Myth #2: The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America.  Myth #3:  The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving at the end of November.  Myth #4: The… (details here)

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  • Well I am not living in the US, but this article was GREAT and full of other AWESOME articles. I learned so many new things about Thanksgiving Day. Good job, Daven.