~According to most historians, the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving Day feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But the feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated. Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, not feasting. Even though this harvest feast was never called Thanksgiving by the pilgrims of 1621, it has become the model for the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. Firsthand accounts of this feast, by Edward Winslow and William Bradford, can be found in Pilgrim Hall Museum.
~ Football is an important part of many Thanksgiving Day celebrations in the United States. The Detroit Lions of the American National Football League have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1934 (except 1939 to 1944, during World War II) and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1966 (except 1975 and 1977).
~ Each Thanksgiving Day since 1947, the president of the United States has been presented with three turkeys by the National Turkey Federation. One live turkey is pardoned and gets to live the rest of its life on a quiet farm; the other two are dressed for the Thanksgiving meal. For many years the pardoned turkeys were sent to Frying Pan Park in Fairfax County, Va. Starting in 2005, the pardoned turkeys have traveled to either Disneyland in California or Disney World in Florida to be the honorary Grand Marshals of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
~ "Over the River and Through the Woods" is a song written by Lydia Maria Child in 1844. It
celebrates her childhood memories of visiting her grandfather's House. It is sometimes alternated with lines about Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving.
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