As people across the country get ready for Thanksgiving, here are a few odd and interesting facts about the holiday, along with some important commentary.
- The first official proclamation for the national Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. was made in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln said the holiday would always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
- In 1863, that was on the 1 score and sixth day of November.
- This proclamation came after intense lobbying from Sarah Josepha Hale, who was the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” That is true, but it is unclear if she actually allowed a lamb to attend her Thanksgiving Dinner. They apparently will follow people everywhere they go.
- In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up to the third week of November in order to help Christmas shopping after the holiday and spur the economy. This wasn’t very popular, so Congress moved the holiday back to the fourth Thursday of November in 1941.
- Recently, online and traditional shopping centers have moved the Christmas shopping season up to starting before Thanksgiving anyway. Take that, Congress!
- The fact that Thanksgiving Dinners are eaten at the noontime and in the evening proves what I tell my family members that dinner can be at lunch or at night, as long as it is the biggest meal of the day. Thanks Thanksgiving!
- Wild turkeys run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can fly at up to 55 miles per hour, which is crazy when you think about how fast that is.
- Even more perplexing is where are turkeys going? What do they have to do?
- The area of bare skin on a turkey’s head and on the throat changes in color depending on if the turkey is excited or stressed. When a male turkey is excited, it’s head turns blue, but when it is ready to fight it turns red.
- So turkeys have mood heads.
- I had a coach once whose head would turn red if he was angry.
- Turkeys have a body part named “snood,” (a long fleshy object that is over its beak) and one named “wattle,” (a red dangly item under the chin).
- If a turkey wakes you up on the morning, but you push the snood button, the bird will wait 10 minutes and then come back and wake you again.
- Also instead of having chicken waffles, why not try a turkey wattle?
- Turkey experts are able to determine a turkey’s gender from its droppings. Males make droppings that a spiral-shaped, while females somehow have droppings shaped like the letter J.
- Why are turkey experts studying this? Aren’t there easier ways to determine turkey genders?
- Experts are able to determine the genders of humans by which ones can spell their names in the snow with their waste.
Why you should root for the Detroit Lions if the game is on at your Thanksgiving gathering, especially if you live in Ohio like me:
- The Detroit Lions began playing in the annual Thanksgiving Day NFL game in 1934, which is the same year that they moved from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan.
- So yes, the Detroit Lions started out as the Portsmouth Spartans, and they joined the NFL in 1930. So, if you think about it, the Lions are originally an Ohio team, and if you live in the state you may want to root for them this year.
- The Portsmouth Spartans played in the first NFL playoff game in 1932. During that season, they tied with the Chicago Bears for the best record, so in 1932 the league held its first playoff game to determine the champion.
- Amazingly enough, the game was played indoors due to bad weather. The field was only 80 yards long, but the future Lions still couldn’t score as they fittingly lost to the Bears 9-0.
- The Bears went on to become a very successful franchise that won many titles and gained national acclaim
- The Lions had some success in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, but have only won one playoff game since 1957 and are often terrible, which makes it tough to be a fan.
- The Lions are the only team in the NFL’s NFC conference (the league is divided into two conferences) that has not played in the Super Bowl.
- The Dallas Cowboys traditionally play the second game of the day on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys started playing on Thanksgiving in 1966.
- The Cowboys are usually pretty good, and are not the favorite team of this columnist, so I don’t have anything else to say about them.
- I hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving, eat plenty of turkey, gravy and cranberries, and cheer for my Lions if the game is on. Thanks for reading the column throughout the year, too.