LAFAYETTE, LA — We know the traditions, but what we don’t know is when the first Thanksgiving was held in America. Historians note markers that suggest celebrations could have happened long before the Pilgrims in 1621. What we do know is that President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. The day was made an official national holiday by Congress in 1941. The author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," Sarah Josepha Hale, was key in getting Thanksgiving officially recognized as a national holiday.
Pizza is one of the most popular meals on the day before Thanksgiving. Pizza Hut reports that they sell roughly 1,200 tons of pizza the Wednesday before turkey day. Their drivers travel roughly 1.05 million miles that day, which is enough to circle the globe 42 times.
Even with a sluggish economy, 38 percent of Americans will spend more on Thanksgiving travel this year than in 2011, and 47 percent will stay at the home of family or friends.
Gobble, gobble: A wild turkey's gobble can be heard a mile away. Why do turkeys gobble, and which turkeys gobble? Male turkeys gobble to show up other males and to attract the attention of female turkeys, known as "hens."
Harry Truman was the first president to “pardon” a turkey for Thanksgiving. The tradition has been continued by every president thereafter.
Speaking of turkey, did you know that there are only three towns in the U.S. with “turkey” in its name? One is located right here in Louisiana! Turkey Creek is a village in Evangeline Parish that has a population of roughly 356 people (98 families), according to the 2000 census.