Have you ever wondered how some of our Thanksgiving traditions came to be? Here are the explanations for a few of them…
Who created the holiday? A woman by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving an official holiday that would fall on the fourth Thursday of November. Hale is the same woman who wrote “Mary had a Little Lamb”.
Thanksgiving came a week early: In 1939, during the Depression, President Dwight Eisenhower moved the holiday up by one week. The move was an effort to help boost retail sales in a struggling economy. Because so many people complained about the change, Thanksgiving was moved back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1941.
The wishbone: Here in the United States we did not come up with this tradition. It has been passed around quite a bit. We actually borrowed it from the British. They got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans — who believed that birds were Oracles. When the birds died they would keep the wishbone and hold it as they made wishes.
Parades: The Macy’s Day parade was not started as a company marketing tool, but actually came from European traditions . In 1924, the store’s immigrant employees decided to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season like they would have in their European countriesby having a parade with knights, jugglers and clowns. The celebrations were so much fun, the tradition stuck. The big helium balloons were introduced into the parade in 1927.
Football on Thanksgiving Day: We have the Detroit Lions to thank for Football on Thanksgiving Day. The Thanksgiving day game was a ploy by the owner of the Lions, George A. Richards, back in 1934. He wanted football to gain fans and popularity in a baseball crazy city. The Lions have played every single Thanksgiving Day since then. The Dallas Cowboys joined in on this NFL tradition in 1966.
And because there just aren’t that many Thanksgiving songs, here is a video of a very young Adam Sandler performing his “Thanksgiving Song”, along with Kevin Nealon on “Saturday Night Live”…
And then there is this clip from the classic television program “WKRP in Cincinnati”…
(CLICK HERE if you would like to watch the whole episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati”. And what a great theme song!)