29 Fun Thanksgiving Facts for Kids of All Ages

1. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans at Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts.

2. The original Thanksgiving feast lasted for three days.

3. Venison, or deer meat, was one of the main sources of protein during the first Thanksgiving.

4. There was no turkey served at the first Thanksgiving. Instead, they enjoyed waterfowl such as ducks and geese.

5. Corn, beans, and squash were called “The Three Sisters” by Native Americans and were served during the feast.

6. Cranberries are a native fruit to North America and have been enjoyed since long before the Pilgrims arrived.

7. President George Washington declared Thursday, November 26, 1789, as the first official Thanksgiving Day.

8. Thanksgiving became an annual national holiday in the United States in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

9. Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October, predating U.S. Thanksgiving by six years.

10. “Tom” is a common name given to male turkeys.

11. Turkeys can run as fast as 20 miles per hour!

12. Only male turkeys, called gobblers or toms, actually “gobble.” Female turkeys make a clucking sound.

13. Wild turkeys can fly and roost in trees at night.

14. Pumpkin pie is traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving but it wasn’t served during the first feast because the Pilgrims didn’t have ovens to bake pies.

15. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924 and is held annually in New York City with over 3 million people attending each year.

16. Snoopy has appeared in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character.

17. Football has been a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition, with the first intercollegiate game played on Thanksgiving Day in 1876.

18. The annual White House turkey pardon started in 1947 with President Truman sparing the life of a turkey.

19. Each year, over 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

20. Minnesota is the largest turkey producer in the United States.

21. Native to North America, turkeys were taken to Europe in the early 16th century and became popular in England by the 1570s.

22. Benjamin Franklin considered the turkey noble enough to be the U.S. national bird but was outvoted by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who chose the bald eagle instead.

23. The wishbone tradition comes from an ancient Etruscan custom of saving the bone for good luck.

24. “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song composed by James Lord Pierpont in 1857 as “One Horse Open Sleigh.”

25. “Black Friday” is not directly related to Thanksgiving but has become a major shopping day that kicks off the holiday season.

26. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law, permanently establishing Thanksgiving as a federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.

27. The heaviest turkey ever recorded was named Tyson, weighing in at 86 pounds!

28. Over 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, according to a National Turkey Federation survey.

29. Stuffing or dressing is a popular side dish made from bread, herbs, and vegetables, but regional ingredients may vary across the U.S., such as cornbread in Southern states or wild rice in Minnesota.