Here are some interesting Thanksgiving and Turkey facts:
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada. So a belated Happy Thanksgiving to our Northern friends.
The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1621. They celebrated at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The drink that the Puritans brought with them in the Mayflower was the beer.
The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.
The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was also invited there.
The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
At one time, the turkey and the bald eagle were each considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin was one of those who argued passionately on behalf of the turkey. Franklin felt the turkey, although "vain and silly", was a better choice than the bald eagle, whom he felt was "a coward".
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving—that's one sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. each year. American per capita consumption of turkeys has soared from 8.3 pounds in 1975 to 18.5 pounds in 1997. Ten years later, the number has dropped slightly in 2007 to 17.5 pounds.
Age is a determining factor in taste. Old, large males are preferable to young toms (males) as tom meat is stringy. The opposite is true for females: old hens are tougher birds.
A turkey under sixteen weeks of age is called a fryer, while a young roaster is five to seven months old.
Turkeys are the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere.
Turkeys have great hearing, but no external ears. They can also see in color, and have excellent visual acuity and a wide field of vision (about 270 degrees), which makes sneaking up on them difficult. However, turkeys have a poor sense of smell (what's cooking?), but an excellent sense of taste.
Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys, however, can fly for short distances at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. They can also reach speeds of 25 miles per hour on the ground.
Turkeys sometimes spend the night in trees.
Turkeys can have heart attacks: turkeys in fields near the Air Force test areas over which the sound barrier was broken were known to drop dead from the shock of passing jets
The ballroom dance known as the Turkey Trot was named for the short, jerky steps a turkey makes.
What nation eats the most Turkey?
According to the National Turkey Federation, in 1998 Israel consumed 27.8 pounds per capita. The United States is in second place, at 18 pounds per capita, followed by France (14.3 pounds), the United Kingdom (11.5), Canada (9.7), Belgium-Luxembourg (7.5), and the Netherlands (3.9).
On this Thanksgiving, before you sit down to your feast, take a moment to Thank G-d for all the blessings in your life. And take a moment to remember the men and women serving in our Armed Forces, many of which are far from home in harms way.
May G-d bring blessings upon your families this holiday.