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9 Unusual, Fun and Weird Thanksgiving Facts


For those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the best-loved holidays, one that often brings back lots of memories. For your Thanksgiving reading pleasure, we present you with 9 unusual, fun or weird facts about “Turkey Day” in America.

(The only crisis management issue here is that the average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, enough to gain 1.3 pounds in one day! Perhaps we need to be prepared to skip seconds.)

1. Singapore weighs the same as turkey consumed

According to the National Turkey Foundation, approximately 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving 2007. This equals the weight of 4.48 million individuals of average weight (154 pounds); the population of Singapore as estimated by the last census in 2005.

2. Move over, bald eagle; turkey is the real US Bird

Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the official United States bird, and was not happy when the bald eagle was chosen instead. In a letter to his daughter, Franklin referred to the eagle's "bad moral character" and proclaimed "For my own part I wish the Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country… For in Truth, the Turk'y is in comparison a much more respectable bird."

3. A “ridiculous” holiday

Not to be outdone, Thomas Jefferson thought a Federal holiday for Thanksgiving was "the most ridiculous idea" ever conceived. It’s been said that Benjamin Franklin named the male turkey “Tom” to spite Thomas.


4. “Mary had a little turkey, and its fleece was…”

Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, is credited as the person most responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States.



5. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song

James Pierpont originally composed the song Jingle Bells in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving at his Boston Sunday School. It gained popularity so quickly that it was repeated again at Christmas, and then again, and again, and again.


6. “Houston, the Turkey has landed.”

According to the National Turkey Foundation, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 sat down to eat their first meal on the moon, their foil food packets contained roasted turkey.



7. Bad day to be a turkey

In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. That’s one bird per person, if you don’t include infants. 91% of Americans eat Turkey on Thanksgiving.



8. Turkeysaurus Rex?

Fossil evidence shows that turkey-like creatures roamed the Americas 75 million years ago. Turkeys have certainly changed, but giant birds are still among us. The Guinness Book of Records states that the heaviest turkey on record was 86 lbs (39 kg) dressed weight.


9. Worlds largest turkey

The World’s largest (man-made) turkey is in Frazee, MN, which is also known as the “Turkey Capital of the World”.



We hope these facts lightened your day. Next week, back to more serious crisis topics. There will be no more articles posted this week, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Image credits - Singapore: chensiyuan/WikiMedia. Turkeys: Martin Pettitt/Flickr. Apollo 11: NASA. Dinosaur: Michael W. Skrepnick. Benjamin Franklin: Library of Congress. Largest Turkey: Sarah Hale: Richard's Free Library. Thomas Jefferson: National Archives. Jingle Bells sheet music: public domain. Some material sourced from ReadWriteWeb.
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