Thanksgiving Facts for Kids

Thanksgiving is a day to gather with loved ones, remember what you’re thankful for, and eat lots of good food! Keep reading to learn some fun facts about this holiday.

  • The first Thanksgiving took place 4,000 years ago, in 1621. William Bradford, the pilgrim governor, organized the meals and invited the Wampanoag Indians to celebrate their recent agreement to protect each other.
  • There was no pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving. But there were likely other interesting foods like duck, goose, and even eel!
  • Have you ever wondered why Thanksgiving is on a Thursday each year? George Washington established November 26th as a day of thanksgiving in 1789. That day was a Thursday. Following that year, people celebrated Thanksgiving on different days in November. It wasn’t until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be on the last Thursday in November.
  • In 1941, an amendment was passed to make Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November, to account for years when November had five Thursdays.
  • Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday after a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale wrote him for 17 years asking him to do so. (Hale is also the writer of the children’s song Mary Had a Little Lamb.)
  • Since 1963, it has been a tradition that the president chooses one turkey to pardon on Thanksgiving.
  • Approximately 46 million turkeys are eaten every year on Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of turkey!

What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?