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10 Thanksgiving facts you probably didn’t know

By / 11.22.13
Thanksgiving facts

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-161247224/stock-photo-carving-rosemary-basil-rub-roasted-turkey-breast-garnished-with-grapes-blackberies-and-fresh.html" target="_blank">Turkey image</a> by Shutterstock


Well all know about Pilgrims, Native Americans and your druncle’s (drunk uncle’s) tradition of yelling at the football game through mouthfuls of turkey and stuffing, but how about some of the more obscure Thanksgiving facts? Let’s take a look.

Fact #1

pecan pie

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-160542065/stock-photo-homemade-delicious-pecan-pie-for-the-holidays.html" target="_blank">Pecan pie image</a> by Shutterstock


There weren’t no pecan pie or mashed potatoes at the first Thanksgiving. Nosiree. Instead, early Americans were dining on corn, barley, wild turkeys, waterfowl and venison which were probably seasoned liberally with American pioneer spices such as “water” and “heat.”

Fact #2

canada

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-162443321/stock-photo-canada-flag-painted-on-old-wood-plank-background.html" target="_blank">Canadian flag image</a> by Shutterstock


Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but it’s celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada. In fact, Canadians sometimes call USA’s Thanksgiving “Yanksgiving.” Dafuq, Canada?

Fact #3

turkey

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-161155757/stock-photo-turkey-on-plate-in-poultry-shop.html" target="_blank">Turkey image</a> by Shutterstock


A 15 pound turkey (this is the average weight of a U.S.-bred Turkey) is normally made up of about 70% disappointing white meat and 30% delicious dark meat. Mmm, November chicken.

Fact #4

turkeys

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-163560764/stock-photo-two-male-beltsville-small-turkeys-in-the-barn-this-is-a-rare-threatened-breed.html" target="_blank">Turkeys image</a> by Shutterstock


While majestic in a sort of squat, terrifyingly ugly way, turkeys are known for being easily frightened, so much so that they’ll actually have a heart attack. One time, the United States Air Force was doing test runs that broke the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys heard the loud sounds and dropped dead right there from instant heart attacks. Now ask yourself, would a Bald Eagle do that?

Bonus 1: A frightened turkey can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour or fly at speeds up to 55 mph, though all that fast movement would probably give them a heart attack too.

Bonus 2: Turkeys have poor night vision. Man, they’re just begging to be eaten aren’t they?

Fact #5

turkey texas

Charles Henry, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/amarilloposters/5693971563/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr</a>


There are 12 unfortunate places in the United States named Turkey. Among them are Turkey, Texas, Turkey Creek, Louisiana, and Turkey, North Carolina.

Fact #6

first thanksgiving

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-86240119/stock-photo-reenactment-scene-of-the-first-thanksgiving-dinner-in-plymouth-in-with-a-pilgrim-family-and-a.html" target="_blank">First Thanksgiving image</a> by Shutterstock


The first Thanksgiving lasted for three days. Some of us love Thanksgiving a bit too much and would have to be weaned off of leftovers if the feasting lasted three whole days, while others hate it and would probably commit seppuku before spending more than one meal’s worth of time with their family.

Fact #7

turkey pardoning

Myrna Litt, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/myrnalitt/4158629392/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr</a>


Since Harry S. Truman, every U.S. President has pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln is said to have informally started this practice when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey from being slain for holiday consumption. Clearly this is an important use of the President’s time.

Fact #8

american flag

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-163523177/stock-photo-close-up-of-american-flag.html" target="_blank">American flag image</a> by Shutterstock


Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until 1941. THERE WAS A TIME IN AMERICA WHEN THANKSGIVING WASN’T AN OFFICIAL HOLIDAY? Let’s un-separate church and state, because that’s straight up blasphemy.

Fact #9

thanksgiving football

Tricia, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/elvissa/2057343772/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr</a>


The traditional Thanksgiving football game got its start in 1876 with an Ivy Leaguers match between Yale and Princeton. Little did they know that they’d started a tradition that would provide so much joy and so much misery for years to come.

Fact #10

more turkeys

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-162708800/stock-photo-turkeys.html" target="_blank">Turkeys image</a> by Shutterstock


White meat turkey breast is the most popular cut of the bird on the great American holiday of Turksgiving. Because of this, modern turkeys are bred to have enormous breasts. How enormous are these enormous breasts? So enormous that mating isn’t even possible because the breasts get in the way. Most hatcheries use artificial insemination to enable the species to live on, feeding millions of hungry, patriotic Americans.

Let me get this straight: we breed turkeys to be slaughtered and all the hormones we inject them with don’t even make it possible for them to enjoy mating naturally? I think I just joined PETA.


TAGSArbitrary RankingsCanadian Thanksgivingcities named TurkeyfeaturedListsThanksgivingThanksgiving dinnerThanksgiving footballThanksgiving historyThanksgiving triviathanksgiving turkeyturkey pardoning
Jason Epstein
About Jason Epstein... Jason Epstein is a nationally published freelance writer living in the greater NYC area. He's known for his close friends/good conversations/playing bass/wind in the face/rocking out/reading up/holding it down/good times/turning on dimes/and sometimes trying to rhyme(s). He can be reached at his website and you can follow him on Twitter here.

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