5 fascinating Thanksgiving facts

5 fascinating Thanksgiving facts

Home – 16.11.20

Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world and with the holiday – which is associated with a colossal turkey dinner – come some interesting facts


Thanksgiving origins

The first Thanksgiving dinner allegedly took place in the port of Berkeley Hundred, Virginia back in 1619. Here, 38 English pilgrims declared their arrival a celebration and for three days they enjoyed a hearty feast, naming it Days of Thanksgiving. Turkey was not on the menu at the time, but certainly, local wildfowl were, along with venison, lobster, fruit and squash. The turkey dinner as we know it was created for the first national Thanksgiving holiday in 1863, where Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States proclaimed “No citizen should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.”

How the turkey got its name

Back in the 1500s, any product imported into England from the south of Bohemia was referred to as Turkish. Ottoman Empire merchants supplied London with Turkey rugs from Persia, Turkey flour from India and Turkey hens, a type of guinea fowl imported from the Middle East. Subsequently, the hen was dropped and the birds simply became known as Turkeys.

Turkey pardoning

Every year, just before Thanksgiving, the president of the United States of America is presented with a turkey, which is then ‘pardoned’ and allowed to live out its life to the full, often gaining celebrity status and staying in luxury hotels. Although President John Fitzgerald Kennedy returned a gifted turkey to its home farm in 1963, it was Ronald Regan in 1982 that issued the first official presidential turkey pardon. The last turkey to be pardoned was a hefty 21kg bird named Butter, who, after meeting the then President Donald Trump, went on to live a charmed life at Gobblers Rest, Virginia.

On the big screen

When it comes to entertainment, Thanksgiving is one of the most popular themes for film producers, with an incredible 46 comedy, 33 drama, 13 family, 13 horror, 11 animated and two musicals based around the annual celebration. Stand out movies include John Hughes’ classic comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles; the tenth animated Peanuts adventure A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; the batty satire, Addams Family Values, starring Angelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christina Ricci and of course, the cult classic Paul Blart: Mall Cop, set during the chaos of Black Friday – Thanksgiving’s infamous shopping festival.

Jingle Bells

One of the festive season’s most popular songs was actually originally written as a Thanksgiving knees-up. Penned in 1857 by the New England composer James Lord Pierpont, the catchy tune was originally named ‘The One Horse Open Sleigh’ and was first performed at a Thanksgiving concert in Savannah, Georgia, before gradually evolving into the Christmas song we know and love today.

Spinneys turkeys

We only stock the finest turkeys from Tegel and Jennie.O here at Spinneys.

Tegel, is a New Zealand-based producer that rears free-range turkeys on its own farms and supplies a range of fresh and frozen turkeys to Spinneys. The fresh turkey comes in three sizes – small, medium and large, while two types of frozen turkey products – the Boneless Roast Turkey with a Cranberry Stuffing and the succulent Whole Frozen Tenderbasted Turkey – are also available.

American producer Jennie.O also supplies Spinneys with high-quality frozen turkeys. The Whole Bird Turkey is easy to prepare and comes pre-seasoned doing away with all the hard work.