After the first Thanksgiving in 1621, it took over 200 years before Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed in 1863.
Sara Hale, a magazine editor, spent 40 years writing editorials and letters to politicians pushing for a day of Thanksgiving. Finally, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
In a letter to his daughter sent in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States than the bald eagle. He argued that the turkey was “a much more respectable Bird,” “a true original Native of America,” and “though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage.”
The wild turkey was hunted nearly to extinction by the
early 1900s, when the population reached a low of around 30,000 birds.
Ninety percent of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, which weigh, on average, sixteen pounds. Fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas.
Apparently, part of the reason that Swanson started creating T.V. dinners in 1953 was because the company needed to find something to do with its massive amount of leftover frozen Thanksgiving turkeys.
Several varieties of turkeys live in America. The largest is the Bronze turkey. The adult male, or tom, weighs up to 50 pounds while the female, or hen, can weigh up to 16 pounds. These larger turkeys are still popular for use in restaurants but are too large for even the most well-attended family gathering.
Only male turkeys gobble. Females make a clicking noise. The gobble is a seasonal call during the spring and fall.