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Thanksgiving 2012: 10 Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Thanksgiving

Think Thanksgiving is only about Justin Bieber and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Think again. Besides our current obsession with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the contemporary Thanksgiving "traditions" passed from generation to generation of shopaholics, there's more to the story. Here are 10 Thanksgiving facts you probably didn't know about (check them out on your smart phone while you line up for hours to get that other gadget at a discount):

1. The First Thanksgiving:  


The Plymouth Pilgrims, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on board of the "Mayflower," were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

2. The First Guests:


The Wampanoag Indians, who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land, were the guests at the first Thanksgiving (they were invited by Governor William Bradford in 1621). 
 
3. Lobster Instead of Turkey: 

The first Thanksgiving celebration, which lasted three days, lacked mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries. Instead, lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese were served that night. 
 
4. The National Bird: 


The Bald Eagle almost didn't make it, as Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.

5. Official Proclamation:  


President Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation" on October 1863, setting aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. 

6. The Parade: 


The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's.
 
7. Presidential Pardon: 


Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey. He "pardons" it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

8. The Ones That Weren't Pardoned: 

 

In the U.S., about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 and 18 pounds of turkey. 

9. Oh Canada:  


Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

10. Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 

It's the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Recently, the Monday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed Cyber Monday and it's the day to buy electronics online.  

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