Fun Thanksgiving Facts

Let’s talk turkey!

  • Americans feast on 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • According the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the United States at Thanksgiving. That number represents one-sixth of all the turkeys sold in the U.S. each year!
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird.
  • Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. However, wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour over short distances.
  • Only male (tom) turkeys gobble. Females make a clicking noise. The famous gobble is actually a seasonal mating call.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed in at 86 pounds—about the size of a German Shepherd! (But turkeys are normally not used as police animals.)
  • A turkey under 16 weeks of age is called a “fryer.” A 5- to 7-month-old turkey is called a “roaster.”
  • The Turkey Trot, a ballroom dance in the 1900s, was named for the short, jerky steps of the turkey. It became popular mainly because it was denounced by the Vatican as “suggestive.”
  • Turkeys are known to spend the night in trees! (Maybe to escape the Thanksgiving table?)
  • Turkeys can drown if they look up when it’s raining! Interesting fact…why is this?
  • A turkey’s field of vision is 270 degrees—one of the main reasons they’re able to elude some hunters.
  • The average age of the Mayflower passenger was 32. The oldest Mayflower passenger was 64.
  • There was no milk, cheese, bread, butter or pumpkin pie at the original Thanksgiving Day feast.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrims did not have big buckles on their clothing, shoes or hats.
  • Buckles did not come into fashion until the late 1600s—more appropriate for the Salem Witchcraft trial time period.
  • The cranberry got its name because the pale pink blossoms on the plant resembled a crane’s head and neck. The name “craneberry” stuck, eventually becoming “cranberry.”
  • Fresh cranberries are ideal for cranberry sauce. Cranberries of the highest quality will always bounce! (If you try this at home, please wash the cranberries before eating.)
  • President Abraham Lincoln established the original date for our National Thanksgiving Day celebration in 1863.
  • President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea of establishing a national Thanksgiving Day.
  • Congress did not declare Thanksgiving a national holiday until 1941.
  • The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. (Now that’s a lot of turkey!)
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