What to talk about besides politics at Thanksgiving?

Want something else to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner besides politics? Here are some fun facts about the holiday to share with those at your table.

Which president made Thanksgiving a holiday?

While many believe it was President George Washington, it was actually President Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

History, Art & Archives of the United States House of Representatives reported that some confuse this because George Washington issued a proclamation for “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” on Nov. 26th 1789. This is recognized as a different day than Thanksgiving.

The History, Art & Archives explained, “Beginning in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln encouraged Americans to recognize the last Thursday of November as ‘a day of Thanksgiving.’

In 1870, Congress passed legislation to make Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Christmas Day national holidays.

Which U.S. state raises the most turkeys?

Even though California and Arkansas are both in the top few rankings, Minnesota takes the top spot as the state that raises the most amount of turkeys, according to the World Atlas.

Because of Turkey farming being passed down from generation to generation, there are about 44 million turkeys raised in within the state.

Why do we have the presidential turkey pardon tradition?

White House History reported that “it is often stated that President Lincoln’s 1863 clemency to a turkey recorded in an 1865 dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks was the origin for the pardoning ceremony.”

American presidents have been receiving turkeys since Rhode Island poultry dealer Horace Vose began sending them to the White House.

“At Thanksgiving 1913, a turkey-come-lately from Kentucky shared a few minutes of fame with the fine-feathered rhode Islander. Soon after, in December, Horace Vose died, thus ending an era.”

The Washington Post reported that President Biden pardoned the turkeys, Chocolate and Chip for 2022.

Who decided what qualifies as Thanksgiving food?

Alexander Hamilton once said, “No citizen of the U.S., shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day,” according to USA Today.

CNBC reported that according to historian of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Ashley Rose Young, said Hamilton was a person of influence in the choice of Turkey for the holiday meal.

“This was all part of a larger idea of bringing a national sensibility to the United States through consuming the same kinds of foods,” Young told CNBC. “So turkey, being a bird indigenous and native to North America really set the American table apart, for example, from the British table.”

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