We’ve already given you 8 weird things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving and now we’ve come up with four more! It really is one of those holidays that just keeps on giving!
No-one knows which President pardoned the first turkey
The President pardoning a turkey at the White House has become an annual tradition, but no-one quite knows where it came from. The first ‘official’ pardoning was carried out by President Harry S. Truman in 1947, and the tradition has been more or less consecutively carried out since then.
However, some claim that Abraham Lincoln was actually the first to do it around 80 years earlier, when he took pity on a turkey owned by his son Tad. Lincoln was also the first to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday, which gives his story a bit more weight.
Either way, at least one turkey survives Thanksgiving and get to meet the President each year. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. The President might have to start including chickens and ducks in his pardon too soon, because…
Turducken could become the official dish of Thanksgiving
Why eat one bird when you can eat three?!
Turducken, which is a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey and is known as the slightly less brash ‘3 bird roast’ this side of the pond, originated in Louisiana at some point in the 1950s and became a popular Thanksgiving option thanks to legendary NFL commentator John Madden’s obsession with them.
While it still has quite a way to go before it usurps turkey as the Thanksgiving meat of choice, turducken is enjoying a steady rise in popularity partially thanks to novelty and partially thanks to the fact it feeds up to 3 times more people than your standard turkey (in theory, at least).
Pilgrims didn’t wear buckled hats
Search ‘first Thanksgiving’ on Google and you’re bound to see at least one man in a tall black buckled hat.
Unfortunately, that depiction – despite being the most famous – is actually about as historically accurate as ‘Braveheart’, as buckles weren’t invented until at least 200 years after the first Thanksgiving. The pilgrims may have worn big hats, but it was only thanks to a fashion-conscious historian/painter that those oh-so-trendy buckles were added.
You can always watch the Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving
Football is a Thanksgiving tradition, and no team embodies that tradition more than the Detroit Lions, who have played a game on every single Thanksgiving since 1934 (barring one year during World War 2) .
And it’s all thanks to one man: George A. Richards. The owner of a Detroit radio station, Richard bought a football team called the Portsmouth Spartans and moved them up to his hometown. When he struggled to fill their stadium, he decided to stage a game on Thanksgiving. Since then, the Lions and Thanksgiving have gone together like…well, turkey and Thanksgiving.
If the prospect of watching the Lions on Thanksgiving isn’t appealing (they’ve never reached a Super Bowl, so it’s forgivable), you could also check out the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve played every Thanksgiving bar 2 since 1966.