10 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, a holiday celebrated in both the U.S. and Canada, reminds many people of family time, turkey, autumn and pies. However, there is much more to this national holiday. It's very popular because it is not associated with a religion, so everyone can celebrate. Also, it makes you think about what you're thankful for.

There is a lot of history behind Thanksgiving, some of which you wouldn't expect! Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Thanksgiving:

1.  When the English settlers and Native Americans ate together after the first harvest, they ate lobster, seal and swans, not the popular Thanksgiving foods - mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey - eaten today.

2.  Thanksgiving was not a national holiday in the U.S. until 1863, more than 200 years after the English settlers landed in Massachusetts.

3.  U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a holiday, and President Franklin Roosevelt (in 1941) signed a bill that said it would be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.

4.  Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Because Canada is further north than the United States, the harvest season ends earlier, which is why Thanksgiving is celebrated almost 2 months earlier in Canada.

5.  Thanksgiving in Canada was first celebrated in 1879, but the current date was only set in 1957.

6.  Two of the most popular American Thanksgiving foods are native to the United States: turkeys and cranberries. The US also grows pumpkins and sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving feasts.

7.  The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (in New York City) was in 1924 when employees of Macy’s had animals from the Central Park Zoo march down the streets of Manhattan. Snoopy has appeared as a balloon in the parade more times than any other character in history.

8.  Between 1939 and 1941, Texas and Colorado celebrated Thanksgiving twice each November, because the state governments could not agree on which day Thanksgiving should be.

9.  Many Thanksgiving meals end with people in “food comas”, which is a slang term for being very sleepy or lazy after a big, filling meal. While some people blame a chemical in turkey (called tryptophan), the only thing that can really be blamed is overeating!

10.  Though the Pilgrims landed near Cape Cod in Massachusetts, their original planned landing spot was near modern New York City, at the mouth of the Hudson River.

Whether you plan to land in New York City or Boston, you can be sure to enjoy a fantastic Thanksgiving while studying with Kaplan International Colleges!