Thanksgiving, a holiday steeped in history and tradition, is celebrated with much fervor in North America. It’s a time for gratitude, delicious feasts, and family gatherings. But there’s more to this festive occasion than meets the eye. Let’s uncover five fun facts that give a deeper insight into the Thanksgiving holiday.
1. The Origins of Canadian Thanksgiving: While many associate Thanksgiving with the United States, Canada’s version of the holiday actually predates America’s by over four decades. The earliest recorded celebration in Canada was in 1578, marking explorer Martin Frobisher’s safe arrival in Nunavut. Initially observed as a religious holiday, Canadian Thanksgiving gradually evolved into a secular day of gratitude, distinct from its American counterpart. By 1957, it was officially scheduled for the second Monday of October annually.
2. A Busy Day for Plumbers: Surprisingly, the day after Thanksgiving holds the title for being the busiest day for plumbers in the U.S. It’s not bathroom-related issues but kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals that predominantly keep plumbers on their toes, debunking the usual Black Friday-related assumptions.
3. A Diverse First Feast: The inaugural Thanksgiving meal was a far cry from today’s traditional turkey and cranberry sauce. Early settlers and Native Americans shared a menu consisting of eels, shellfish, wildfowl, and deer, with no sign of the now-classic cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.
4. Drinksgiving: The night before Thanksgiving, known as ‘Drinksgiving’ or ‘Blackout Wednesday,’ ironically sees more drunk driving accidents than Christmas. It has earned a reputation for being the biggest bar night in America, overshadowing even some of the more traditionally festive occasions.
5. The Accidental Invention of TV Dinners: In 1953, Swanson found itself with an excess of 260 tons of frozen turkeys. In an ingenious move, the company sliced up the surplus meat, repackaging it into what would become the first ever TV dinner. This resourceful solution turned an overestimation error into a culinary innovation that changed the American dining landscape.
From its historical beginnings to modern-day customs, Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey and trimmings. It’s a holiday rich in history, with traditions and anecdotes as diverse as the people who celebrate it.