PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Americans get ready to gather around the dinner table, share a meal, and most importantly. . . give thanks, here are a few things some may not have known about Thanksgiving.
The History channel has provided a few key facts that some could be unaware of when it comes to the famous November holiday.
For starters, turkey wasn’t served during the first Thanksgiving in 1621 when pilgrims invited local Native Americans to share a meal with them. The meal celebrated the pilgrims’ first successful harvest, and Native Americans brought five deer they had killed as a gift, so venison was eaten at the first Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin pie and potatoes were also absent from the first Thanksgiving meal as they hadn’t been introduced to New England yet.
Pilgrims didn’t plan on making the meal a tradition, and they didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in years after the first meal.
In fact, it didn’t become an annual tradition until President George Washington announced the first national Thanksgiving holiday, and it took place on Thursday, November 26, 1789.
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln announced the U.S. would celebrate Thanksgiving on the final Thursday in November.
Then, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt bumped Thanksgiving up a week to give retailers suffering from the Great Depression more time to make money during the pre-Christmas shopping season. The move wasn’t popular, and in 1941, he signed a bill moving it to the fourth Thursday in November where it stays to this day.
For more facts about the holiday, check out the video below.