Before you feast on this guy, learn a few things about Thanksgiving.REUTERS/Brian Snyder We all know that the first Thanksgiving dinner took place when the Pilgrims celebrated a good harvest in the New World, and that the tryptophan in turkey isn’t actually what makes you so sleepy.
But did you know that there was a crisis in the late 1930s called “Franksgiving?”
We rounded up 11 of the best facts about Thanksgiving, which might come in handy during those awkward silences at the family dinner table.
Asta Thrastardottir contributed reporting on an earlier version of this article.
1. There are three places in the US named Turkey.
Three small towns in America are named after the nation’s favorite bird.
There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Louisiana, according to the US Census Bureau. Turkey, Texas, is the most populated, with 421 residents.
There are also two townships in Pennsylvania called Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.
2. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York took place in 1914 when Macy’s employees dressed in vibrant costumes and marched to the flagship store on 34th Street.
The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants, all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. It was also originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927.
3. “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song.
James Pierpoint composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas.
The song quickly became associated with the Christmas holiday season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.
4. The Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving.
Football is so ingrained in the Thanksgiving holiday that many people think the game is just as important as the turkey.
The first NFL football game that took place on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934, when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving ever since, except when the team was called away to serve during World War II, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Dallas Cowboys also always play on Thanksgiving. Their first Thanksgiving Day game was held in 1966, and the Cowboys have only missed two games since then.
5. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the best for bar sales in the US.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking nights of the yar, more than New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or even St. Patrick’s Day.
It makes sense, since nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off, and dealing with family members can be very stressful. (But at least stuffing your face with fatty Thanksgiving foods is a perfect hangover cure.)