Turkey dinners, football games and parades — these are the modern-day trappings of the holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. But Thanksgiving is more than just a day of food and festivity.
This new one-hour special traces the history of the holiday, from its origins in the early American colonies through the family feasts Americans enjoy today. The Real Story of Thanksgiving gives viewers a new understanding of how this much-loved holiday has changed over time.
Pilgrims Didn't Wear Buckled Hats
It's true—buckles didn't even become a thing until the 18th century (200 years after the first Thanksgiving). Which means that somewhere over the last two centuries, someone just started adding buckles into these early American scenes, and the rest of us just went with it.
Native Americans Didn't Wear Loin Cloths
Yes, really. And it makes sense. Have you ever stopped to realize how utterly cold it is in New England during November? That Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims would have been super uncomfortable if the Native Americans arrived in nothing but a little fabric draped around their waists. Instead, historians are pretty positive they were fully clothed.
Minnesota Produces the Most Turkeys
Yep, the North Star state of Minnesota produces the largest number of turkeys every year, with some 450 farmers raising a staggering 46 million turkeys annually. Needless to say, they do pretty well for themselves come Thanksgiving time.
Millions of Turkeys Are Eaten Each Thanksgiving
According to the National Turkey Federation (because yes, there is such a thing), 46 million turkeys were eaten on Thanksgiving in 2012 alone. That's 736,000 pounds of turkey consumed—in just one day!
Thomas Jefferson cancels Thanksgiving -
You've probably heard that Ben Franklin thought turkeys should be the American bird. But did you know Thomas Jefferson cancelled the holiday altogether? George Washington had declared a day of thanks but only did it on a year-to-year basis. Jefferson refused to celebrate it during the holiday and it wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the day a federal holiday.