5 Little-Known Thanksgiving Facts


MCT Campus

A typical Thanksgiving meal of 2013

Oliver Ullman, Staff Reporter

1. Turkey doesn’t make you tired

Chances are, when you start to fall asleep at Thanksgiving, someone like your Great Aunt Judy will say, “It’s the tryptophan”, and everyone will agree. But they’re only partially right, Tryptophan does help release the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The problem is that the Tryptophan won’t be able to get into your system until you eat those gravy covered marshmallow yams, the carbohydrates make you sleepy, and Tryptophan then enters and helps finish the job. Or maybe it’s just your uncle Ralph talking about the NSA for too long.

2. Thanksgiving didn’t originate in America

Yes that’s right, Thanksgiving is a not-so-American holiday, at least in terms of its beginnings. In it’s essence Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, which occurred many, many times before that famous feast in 1621, and in many different places. The American Thanksgiving was most likely based on the European Harvest festival, which was an age-old tradition.

3. Thanksgiving menus are not what they used to be

The usual Thanksgiving diet is much different than what it was a few hundred years ago. At the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving table, turkey may or may not have been there, and stuffing involved fish, herbs, onions, and oats. There was no cranberry sauce, or mashed potatoes either. There was pumpkin, but no pumpkin pie. All these dishes weren’t common because the locals weren’t able to get into their personal Boeing 787’s and fly over to the Carribean to get dishes like sweet potatoes.

4. There really was no first Thanksgiving

In elementary school, we were taught that the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621, where Pilgrims and Indians (some contest that Indians weren’t even there) shared a meal and that became a time-honored tradition.  This is less of a fact and more of an opinion. The reality is that there were many other events that could be described as the first Thanksgiving that we know today, like when George Washington announced the ‘first’ Thanksgiving, or when Lincoln declared it a national holiday, or when FDR announced one to promote shopping during the depression.

5. Thanksgiving attire was not how it is portrayed today

We’ve all been taught to believe that the pilgrims wore black and white and wore buckles on their shoe. The reality is that pilgrims almost definitely didn’t do any of that. They couldn’t afford black clothes, because those were incredibly expensive, and they definitely didn’t have buckles on their shoes. The average Pilgrim probably wore a host of different colors.  Indians also probably didn’t wear loincloths during that time because shockingly, winter is cold.