At the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims had a cozy little dinner party with the native Americans. A people they were about to do battle with over the next few hundred years. Not unlike your own Thanksgiving dinner when you sit down with that aunt of yours that makes snarky comments about your weight when you ask for a 2nd helping of mashed potatoes. Stock up on your smallpox blankets for Christmas presents this year.
Little known Thanksgiving facts:
– The first Thanksgiving was actually held in Virginia, not Plymouth. They started the tradition as early as 1607 and there is a day noted in the charter of Charles City County, VA in 1619. That’s much earlier than Plymouth’s first one in 1621. Conversely, the native Americans didn’t hold a real Thanksgiving until 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed.
– Abraham Lincoln was the first person to designate a national date for Thanksgiving, on the last Thursday of November each year. Before that, different states had different dates. On December 26, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed that to the 4th (not final) Thursday of November. You see, politicians have always concerned themselves with the most pressing issues. I’m sure there was nothing more important going on in December of 1941.
– Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving. The holiday originates from Martin Frobisher’s 1578 voyage from England to find a northern passage through to the Pacific Ocean. In the 17th century it also started to become a harvest festival thanks to the French settlers. In the 21st century most Canadians are just thankful they don’t live in Detroit.
– On the West Indian island of Grenada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25th as a celebration of the 1983 US invasion that deposed and executed Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Really Grenada, you shouldn’t encourage us. Somehow I don’t think the Iraqis will be having turkey kabobs with their falafels anytime soon.
– Historians think there may have been an earlier Spanish Thanksgiving celebrated in 1541 when Francisco Vasquez Coronado and his expedition party celebrated their travel in the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle. When asked why they were using turkeys instead of Cornish hens, Coronado replied “Everything is bigger in Texas, bitches!”
– The domestic turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving are flightless birds only because they’re too fat to fly. Insert your own American analogy here.
– Cranberries were used by the native Americans to treat arrow wounds. Keep some on hand for when your kid receives that pointy, semi-dangerous Christmas gift from your friend without kids.
– Each year the US president pardons a turkey. This year, President Obama considered pardoning George Bush, but instead opted for “Gobbly”.
– Southern states didn’t like the idea of Thanksgiving when it was made a national holiday. They proclaimed it “didn’t include enough lard”.
– Well before our Traditional Thanksgiving, the Hawaiians celebrated Makahiki, which lasted 4 months from November to February. During this time, both work and war were forbidden. And the surf was up, so screw work anyway.
– Forefathers Day is celebrated on December 21st for the original pilgrim landing in 1620. It’s celebrated only in New England and early on, just by descendents of the original pilgrims. Because nobody else gives a crap.
– The tradition of Black Friday shopping dates back to the 1930’s when people would kill each other to get in the doors to buy Apple’s newest products, the iSewingMachine and iScotchTape.