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36Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year, and for good reason. Who can resist the food and catching up with family. But did you know that the pilgrims may not have been the first to celebrate the venerable old holiday? Contrary to many legends, the first Thanksgiving may have actually been celebrated in Texas in 1541?

Here’s some more interesting (and little known) facts about Thanksgiving.

The date that most people associate with Thanksgiving may just be an estimation. The period in which the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred between September 21 and November 9, 1621.

At the first recognized Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims did not eat turkey, they ate deer. This is known because Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow made note that the Wampanoag natives showed up to dinner with five deer.

Did you know that the President pardons a turkey each year? It is believed that the first president to do this was Harry S. Truman back in the 1950’s. But the tradition didn’t pick up much steam until George H.W. Bush pardoned a bird in 1989.

Snoopy is the longest running balloon in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 37 years, except for only one year, 2012. This led to an outcry from parade fans and caused parade officials  to swiftly apologize in an official statement.

Though the Thanksgiving holiday is now synonymous with the fourth Thursday in November, it wasn’t actually recognized until 1863 thanks in part to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme writer Sarah Josepha Hale. She petitioned five presidents until it was finally recognized.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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