Thanksgiving 2021: By the numbers | The Numbers Racket

Despite many recognizing 1621 as the year of the first Thanksgiving in the United States, the day of gratitude was not officially recognized as a national holiday until 1863

By: - November 22, 2021 6:30 am

(c) Brent Hofacker – Stock.Adobe.com

Later this week, many Americans will observe Thanksgiving, America’s second-favorite holiday, according to a 2015 poll

While preparations for Thanksgiving dinners across the country get underway, here are some Thanksgiving-related facts to chew on. 

Despite many recognizing 1621 as the year of the first Thanksgiving in the United States, the day of gratitude was not officially recognized as a national holiday until 1863, when then-President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday. 

Matters of Turkey & Food

In 2020, U.S. turkey consumption totaled 5.26 billion pounds, or 16 pounds of turkey per person, according to the National Turkey Federation. 

Despite the tradition unofficially beginning with President Abraham Lincoln and carrying on numerous other presidents, the first official turkey pardon took place in 1989 under President George H.W. Bush, according to the National Constitution Center. 

A typical Thanksgiving meal can amount to more than 3,000 calories, the Calorie Control Council reports

Besides turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and dressing, bread and rolls and ham rounded out the top five dishes for Americans, according to a 2020 report from YouGov, an international research and data analytics group. 

Entertaining Traditions

For nearly a century,  the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which first began in 1924, has been a Thanksgiving Day tradition. The first balloons made their appearance at the parade three years later in 1927, according to History.com. 

The route of the parade covers more than 2.5 miles in midtown Manhattan. The parade draws more than 3.5 million people to the streets of New York each year, with nearly 50 million more viewers tuning in to watch the parade on TV. 

But the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t the only tradition … There’s also football. 

The first Thanksgiving Day football game was played in 1876, preceding the holiday’s status as an official holiday by 13 years! The first football game to take place on Thanksgiving Day was a college matchup between Ivy-League schools Yale and Princeton. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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