Thanksgiving, of course, is a time for giving thanks. But it's also a time to be gluttonous with favorites like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. To along with all that eating, of course, are all those amazing shopping deals, which used to follow the holiday but are now practically overtaking it. But there is so much more to this American holiday than just food and shopping. For people interested in getting to know about the other facets of Thanksgiving, check out the following list of facts below, courtesy of Religion News and WRDW. 

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 when the Plymouth Colony pilgrims celebrated their harvest with a three-day feast. The Wampanoag Indians played a role in the festivities.

Turkey and other wild birds were most likely eaten at the first Thanksgiving since they’re indigenous to America and colonists were familiar with the birds since Spanish settlers brought them back to Europe nearly 100 years earlier.

Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, probably wasn’t devoured at the first Thanksgiving because sugar was scarce.

The Wampanoag Indians probably brought fresh venison to the feast, in addition to corn meal and codfish.

The pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower.

The colonists didn’t use forks on the first Thanksgiving, but they did use spoons, knives and their fingers.

The average turkey eaten on the national holiday weighs 15 pounds.

Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.

A group of turkeys is called a flock.

Turkeys can drop dead from heart attacks.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.

Thanksgiving wasn’t a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln declared it so after American magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale persuaded him. She’s the same author of the popular children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wasn't held until the 1920s.

President Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a week earlier in 1939 to extend the Christmas shopping season and thus spur economic growth.

U.S. presidents have pardoned turkeys since 1947. That lucky bird gets to live out the rest of its days on an historical farm.

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