SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Thanksgiving is today and dinner doesn’t have to be the only to enjoy. With family and friends coming together on this holiday, why not talk about the holiday itself and festive facts?

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Years before colonists arrived, Native people celebrated different days of thanksgiving. For example, they celebrated “Strawberry Thanksgiving” and “Green Corn Thanksgiving.” The English also had thanksgiving traditions. In the summer of 1623, for example, they announced a day of thanksgiving at the end of a long drought.

Sarah Josepha Hale’s influence can be seen in historic sites and a famous national holiday still widely celebrated today. (Scanned 1855 Engraving Getty Images)

Starting in 1846, Poet Sarah Josepha Hale, who is best known for creating the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” charged the president and other leading politicians to push for the national celebration of Thanksgiving.

While the nation was in the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed into action “A National Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” Hale’s letter to Lincoln is often cited as the main factor in his decision. 

First Lady Grace Coolidge shows her pet raccoon to children gathered on the White House grounds. (Photo by H.E. French/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

In 1926, Vinnie Joyce of Nitta Yuma, Mississippi, sent U.S. President Calvin Coolidge a live raccoon that was to be killed and served as Thanksgiving dinner. However, the President became so enamored with the furry animal that he pardoned it and kept it as a pet. He named it Rebecca.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Balloon Inflation on November 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.)

Before the glitz and dozens of floats, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade had humble beginnings in the 1920’s. First known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade, the event was held by store employees only, as a way to influence customers to shop for the coming Christmas holiday. Live animals from the Central Park Zoo were used on floats in the early parades.

Swanson 1977 TV Dinner package, photo. (AP Newsoom)

In 1953, the former Swanson company had over 200 tons of leftover poultry after Thanksgiving. Using 5,000 aluminum trays and an assembly line of hand-packers, they created a Thanksgiving-inspired meal with the leftover turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes.

The dish was sold for a grand total of 98 cents, and in the first full year of production, they sold millions of them, birthing the prepackaged frozen meal industry.

President George HW Bush (1924 – 2018) answers a question from one of the school children attending the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, DC, November 14, 1990.(Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

On Nov. 17, 1989 President George H.W. Bush noticed a 50-pound turkey in the White House Rose Garden during the public presentation of the plump gobbler. 

After noting that the turkey appeared “understandably nervous,” Bush added: “Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy. He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now.” 

Decades later, the presidential turkey pardon remains an annual Thanksgiving tradition. 

Turkey is a city in Hall County, Texas that was named after wild turkeys. (Getty Images)

There is a city in Texas named Turkey.

When Turkey, Texas was founded, the post office was a dugout and the dugout was on a creek where wild turkey’s roosted, which is how Turkey originally got its name.