10 interesting things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving

Kassandra Haakman, Contributing Writer

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Well, it’s that time of the year again. Thanksgiving season: the time when any experienced Internet browser decides that if they see one more article about Thanksgiving, they might have a mental breakdown. It’s the time when the words “Thanksgiving facts” instill dread in even the most patient web surfers. Nobody wants to hear anymore about how the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower or how the first Thanksgiving feast was attended by both the pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Fortunately, The Gauntlet understands your pain and, for the sake of your sanity, has provided you with an article that contains ten things you don’t know about Thanksgiving.

1. The name turkey does have to do with the country.
Back in the day, Europeans really enjoyed eating Guinea fowls imported from Africa. Since they were imported to Europe by Turkish merchants, the English called them “turkeys.” Later, when the Spanish came to America, they found a bird that tasted a lot like these Guinea fowls, so when they were sent to Europe, the English decided to call them “turkeys” as well.

2. Turkeys can have heart attacks.
In fact, all birds can have heart attacks, but it’s funnier to think about it happening to turkeys. When the Air Force was conducting test flights and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.

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3. Turducken is the new turkey.
A popular turkey replacement that originated in Louisiana, the turducken is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. As if that weren’t enough, the inside of the chicken and all of the other gaps are filled with varying types of stuffing, the most popular being a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture.

4. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song.
James Pierpont composed the song in 1857 for his Sunday school class to sing for their Thanksgiving performance at their church. He kept the song simple so that his students would have no trouble remembering it. Their performance was so well received that they sang it again at Christmas, and the song became known as a Christmas song.

5. The pilgrims didn’t name Plymouth, Massachusetts after Plymouth, England.
Plymouth, Massachusetts was named by earlier settlers and had nothing to do with its namesake in England. The pilgrims only called it Plymouth, because it was labeled that on a map that the Mayflower’s captain had. It’s unlikely that any of the pilgrims had any emotional connection to Plymouth, England, as most of them had spent ten years in exile in Holland, and it is just a coincidence that the Mayflower ended up sailing from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. In fact, the pilgrims hadn’t even intended to go to Plymouth and were forced to stop there because of bad weather.

6. Black Friday is statistically proven to be the busiest day of the year for plumbers.
I don’t think I need to explain this one.

7. Thanksgiving didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1863.
We have Sarah Josepha Hale to thank for this. She spent 17 years of her life campaigning to make Thanksgiving an official federal holiday. She wrote letters to 5 different presidents, the last of whom being Abraham Lincoln, who finally listened to her request and declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Also, she wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb.

8. Thomas Jefferson hated Thanksgiving.
Before Thanksgiving was made a national holiday, and only some people celebrated the holiday, Thomas Jefferson expressed his dislike for the holiday, saying, “Thanksgiving is the most ridiculous idea.”

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9. The Macy’s Day parade is not the oldest Thanksgiving parade.
That title goes to the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, which started in 1920, four years before the Macy’s Day parade started. Like the Macy’s Day parade, it is still being put on today, except it is now called the 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving day parade.

10. The US Virgin Islands celebrate two Thanksgiving.
They celebrate the same Thanksgiving as we do, but they also celebrate
Hurricane Thanksgiving Day on October 19th to celebrate the islands not being hit by a hurricane that year. (That is, if the islands were not hit by a hurricane.)

Well, have you learned something new? Are you feeling refreshed and relieved that you didn’t have to read the same facts again? Now that frustration has been cleared, you can go into your Thanksgiving break feeling ready to take on this special holiday. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

 

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