did you know that the pilgrims trip to the new world aboard the mayflower lasted 65 days? it was a cold and damp journey, and since the ship was wooden, passengers were not allowed to light a fire for warmth or for
cooking their food.
did you know that half of the 110 pilgrims who had left england in 1620 survived that first year in the new world? in their second year, however, the pilgrims flourished with plentiful food sources, thanks in large part to the friendship and guidance of an abnaki indian named squanto.
did you know that the first thanksgiving took place in december 1621, when the pilgrims held a three-day feast in plymouth rock, massachusetts to celebrate their bountiful harvest?
did you know that thanksgiving didn't become an official national holiday until more than 200 years later, when in 1863 president lincoln proclaimed the last thursday of november a national day of thanksgiving?
did you know that it is tradition for us presidents to issue a pardon to the white house thanksgiving turkeys? since about 1947 the national turkey federation has presented the president of the united states with one (and in recent years - two) live turkey(s) in a ceremony known as the national thanksgiving turkey presentation. the live turkeys are pardoned and live out the rest of their days on a farm or, since XX, sent to either disneyland in california or walt disney world in florida, where they serve as the honorary grand marshals of disney's thanksgiving day parade. while it is commonly believed that this pardoning tradition began with president harry truman in 1947, the truman library has been unable to find any evidence for this. the earliest thanksgiving presidential pardon on record is with president george h. w. bush in 1989.