Wild TurkeyThe very first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated almost 400 years ago, in the fall of 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was a three day celebration put on by the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony. Almost a year earlier the Pilgrims were found by the Wampanoag Indians. The Pilgrims had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and upon arrival were having a hard time trying to survive. The Indians found the Pilgrims in horrible shape and helped them adapt to their new environment. They taught them to hunt and farm and build, their lives soon flourished thanks to the help of the Wampanoag Indians. The Pilgrims decided that they would show their appreciation by having a huge celebration, a celebration we now know as Thanksgiving. Here are a few interesting facts that surround this Holiday and how it came to be.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November be for celebrating Thanksgiving.

It was not until 1941 that Congress passed an official proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a legal Holiday to be observed on the forth Thursday of November.

Texans claim that the first Thanksgiving took place 23 years before the Pilgrims even arrived. They claim that Juan de Onate, a Spanish Explorer, led hundreds of settlers across the Mexican desert. Upon arrival to a little community near El Paso, Tx. called San Elizarior, Onate is said to have thrown a huge Thanksgiving feast.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the Turkey to be the National bird for the United States.Thanksgiving at The White House

Every Thanksgiving The National Turkey federation presents the President of the United States with a live turkey and two dressed turkey's in honor of the Holiday. It has been a Thanksgiving tradition since 1947.

The 1st meal on the moon consisted of roasted turkey and trimmings consumed by Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October.

One myth people argue with is that Thanksgiving is about family and religion. Stories tell that Thanksgiving was about both family and religion but some argue that it was about neither. They say instead, it was about friendship. Ultimately, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, whether that thanks be to your family, your God, your friends, or any other thing you are thankful for. However, it is still said the original meaning did not have anything to do with either of the two.

The Turkey Trot, a popular ballroom dance, was actually named after the short, jerky steps that turkeys make.

Source Mourge FileA full grown turkey is said to have around 3,500 feathers.

The weight of the heaviest turkey ever was 86 lbs!

Turkeys often sleep in trees and return home at the break of dawn.

In 2008 more than 232 million turkey's were consumed. It is estimated that almost half of those were eaten on Thanksgiving.

It is estimated that this year the amount of turkeys sold will exceed 280 million.

The average price per turkey is estimated at around $18.65 according to the American Farm Bureau SalesFederation's annual study. This is a decrease in price by 44 cents from last year.

If 280 million expected turkeys sell for the estimated $18.65 the annual 2009 Thanksgiving turkey sales will exceed 5.2 billion dollars!

The average size turkey purchased for Thanksgiving dinner is 15 lbs.

A turkey generally has 30% dark meat and 70% white meat. White meat is favored in America while dark meat is favored in other countries.

Thanksgiving Dinner91% of Americans eat Turkey on Thanksgiving!

Turkey Sandwiches are the #1 way to serve turkey leftovers.

Green Bean Casseroles are made in over 40 million homes on Thanksgiving!

Older, larger males are said to be much tastier than younger males. The opposite is true of females, the younger females are more desirable as they taste better than the older hens.

Every year over 50 million pumpkin pies are made. However, pumpkin pie was not served as part of the first Thanksgiving feast.

Wild Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour, they can also fly up to 55 miles per hour but only for short distances. Domestic turkeys however, can not fly.Corn on the Cob

80 million pounds of cranberries are served during Thanksgiving.

Many traditional items now served on Thanksgiving were not actually part of the original Thanksgiving feast. The menu did not include corn on the cob, potatoes, or even cranberries. It has never even been proved that turkey was served even though we do know that turkey was a common food then. Deer however, was on the menu!

Turkeys can actually have heart attacks. When the U.S. Air Force flew above doing testing to break the sound barrier, it was said that turkeys would drop dead from shock.

Holiday TravelThanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the entire year. Long distance travel increases by an expected 54%. That increase in travel is more than Christmas and New Years which stand at about a 23% increase.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which began in the 1920's, traditionally signifies the start of the Christmas shopping season. It is estimated that the parade is viewed by over 44 million people not including the additional 3 million who attend the parade and see it live in New York City.

Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving is a newly traditional way to kick off the Holiday shopping season. Black Friday is said to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Retailers offer their greatest deals of the season. The name "Black Friday" dates back to the 1970's but only became extremely popular in 2002. It is termed "Black Friday" because when financial records were kept by pen and paper red ink meant financial loss and black meant financial gain. The profitability on the Friday after Thanksgiving was always "in the black" thus giving it the name "Black Friday". Contrary to popular belief, this day is not the most profitable of the year even though it is the busiest. The most profitable is Christmas eve or the Saturday before Christmas.

The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories! So, on average a person will gain 1 lb. just from all those Thanksgiving goodies!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Images courtesy of: sxc.hu and morguefile.com