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Thanksgiving Day Fun Facts and Traditions

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  • Thanksgiving
    (Photo: Pilgrim Hall Museum)
    "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth", by Jennie Brownscombe offers an early 20th century perspective on the 1621 event. Courtesy Pilgrim Hall Museum.
By Justin Sarachik, Christian Post Reporter
November 24, 2011|4:03 pm

As millions of American's across the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving today and await the arrival of their turkey, here are some fun Thanksgiving facts to hold your stomachs over while you wait.

America's first Thanksgiving was in 1621, but October 1777 marked the official celebration of the holiday as a small nation of 13 colonies.

The original Thanksgiving by the Plymouth Rock settlers was initially a three day fast of prayer. When the Wampanoag Indians joined, they brought their traditions with feasting, dancing, and music. In their practice it was called, "Nickommoh" – "to give away" or "exchange."

In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to a week early to help spur sales during the Great Depression. Americans were furious as FDR was the subject of backlash and name calling over the incident. Many called the new date, "Franksgiving," and celebrated the traditional day as well.

In 1953, the Swanson poultry brand had 260 tons of extra frozen turkey with no where to place the excess of birds. Gerry Thomas, a salesman with the company, had an idea based off what he saw on airplanes with neatly packaged food. 5,000 trays were ordered and the turkeys were cut up in slices and placed on the trays with mashed potatoes and assorted other foods creating the first TV dinner.

The first football game on Thanksgiving was in 1876 before the NFL was even an institution. 1934 was the first year an NFL game was played on Thanksgiving. The matchup was between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

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The Christian Post asked a few readers if they had any interesting traditions in their families on Thanksgiving.

Paul Avilla said, "Me and my 73yr old grandma get into a food fight."

While Emily-Cosette Divito gives thanks with her whole family, "We have place cards at everyone's seats of different bible verses and we go around saying either what we are thankful for or we read the verse. And then of course we play 104.3 in the background and sing along to good old rock songs."

Mary Torres said, "I usually go to my boyfriend's house for brunch, and then leave and go to my grandmother's for dinner."

"My dad would bring out a stick and we would go around the table and whoever had the stick would say something they are thankful for," said Charisa Ja.

 

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