5 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! Although Thanksgiving will be a little different for many of us this year, today is still a day to give thanks! So grab a drumstick, and enjoy these 5 tasty Thanksgiving tidbits… 

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There Are Four Towns In The US Named Turkey There are four small towns in America that are named after the nation's favorite bird.  There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina, Turkey Creek, Louisiana; and and Turkey Creek, Arizona. Oh, and let's not forget the two townships in Pennsylvania: the creatively named Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot!

Macy’s First Parade on Thanksgiving Day Featured Live Animals The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York took place in 1914 when Macy’s employees dressed in vibrant costumes and marched to the flagship store on 34th Street. The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. It was also originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. 

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The Lions And Cowboys Always Play On Thanksgiving Football is so ingrained in the Thanksgiving holiday that many people think the game is just as important as the turkey. The first NFL football game that took place on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934, when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving ever since, except when the team was called away to serve during World War II, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The Dallas Cowboys also always play on Thanksgiving. Their first Thanksgiving Day game was held in 1966, and the Cowboys have only missed two games since then. 

Thomas Jefferson Canceled Thanksgiving During His Presidency George Washington was the first to declare Thanksgiving a holiday, but it was on a year-to-year basis, so presidents had to re-declare it every year, according to The Washington Post. Thomas Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency, and many say that he called the holiday "the most ridiculous idea ever conceived." Most historians agree that Jefferson really refused to declare the holiday because he believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of "prayer" violated the First Amendment. It wasn’t until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday, that it was officially scheduled to fall on the fourth Thursday of every November. 

The Origin of Turkey Pardons Is Fuzzy The White House has a tradition of pardoning one lucky turkey each year. No one actually knows when U.S. presidents began offering their turkeys a presidential pardon. The annual tradition is believed to have begun in 1947 with President Harry Truman. However some historians believe that it actually started in the 1860s with Abraham Lincoln after his son Tad begged him to spare his pet turkey's life. Despite these two theories of the origins of the pardon, George H. W. Bush was the first president to officially grant a turkey a presidential pardon, according to The New York Times.