5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!  Whether you're looking for an interesting conversation starter or just really want to know more about Thanksgiving, these surprising facts will make you seem like the smartest person at the dinner table.  So grab a drumstick, and enjoy these 5 tasty Thanksgiving tidbits…


The Original Thanksgiving Lasted for Three Days When the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving in November 1621, they spent three glorious days feasting on venison, goose, duck, oysters, fish, and eel with cranberries and pumpkin -- but no turkey. Only five women are believed to have been present at the celebration among the 50 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. Originally, the Pilgrims intended to make it a day of prayer and fasting, but the arrival of the natives changed all that.

Pilgrims Didn’t Wear the Clothing that Are Commonly Depicted Most illustrations of Pilgrims in movies, books, and advertising depict them wearing black or black and white with buckles on their hats and shoes. Buckles weren’t used until the late 17th century, and the Pilgrims normally only wore black and white on Sundays. During the week, they dressed in bright colors, which is proven by the estates they left behind in which one woman had a red petticoat, blue stockings, and a purple waistcoat.


"Jingle Bells" Was Originally a Thanksgiving Song  James Pierpoint composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was "One Horse Open Sleigh," and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas. The song quickly became associated with the Christmas holiday season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.

TV Dinners Were Inspired by Thanksgiving In 1953, the TV-dinner company Swanson overestimated the demand for turkey by over 260 tons. The owners of the company had no idea what to do with all the leftovers, so they enlisted the help of company salesman Gerry Thomas. Taking inspiration from airplane meals, Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, and loaded them with the turkey leftovers to create the first TV dinner. 

Sarah Josepha Hale is Known as The "Godmother of Thanksgiving" Sarah Josepha Hale was a woman truly dedicated to the cause of there being a Thanksgiving holiday. So dedicated in fact that she spent 17 years campaigning for it and wrote letters to five different presidents. Sometimes referred to as the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” Hale wrote countless articles and letters to persuade President Abraham Lincoln to officially declare Thanksgiving a national holiday that recurred every year.  Hale mentioned in her letter that having such a national day of Thanksgiving would establish a "Great Union Festival of America."  What is Sarah Josepha Hale’s other claim to fame? She was the author of the nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."