The Thanksgiving holiday originated right here in the Bay State in 1621 and was held in what is now Plymouth. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789; New York made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817. Sarah Josepha Hale, magazine editor and author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” started campaigning to make the day a national day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1827, and President Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863 that officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. (Earlier presidents made annual proclamations specifying that year’s Thanksgiving date.) Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that Thanksgiving be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
237.5 million

Number of turkeys raised in 2014 in the U.S. Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana raise almost two-thirds of the birds.

841 million 

In pounds, U.S. cranberry production in 2015. Wisconsin is estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries with 503 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts at about 211 million.

3 billion 

The total weight of sweet potatoes in pounds produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2014.

1.5 billion

Total U.S. production in pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and New York, the major pumpkin-growing states, together produced 1.1 billion pounds that year.

46 million

Number of turkeys the National Turkey Federation estimates are eaten at Thanksgiving. That’s about one-fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States each year.

50 million

The approximate number of people who typically watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television.

46.9 million

Estimated number of Americans who travel 50 miles or more for their Thanksgiving celebrations. 


Average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving.


Ridges on a 14-ounce can of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce.


Average number of calories consumed during the meal, including appetizers, drinks, and desserts. 


Weight of the largest pumpkin pie ever baked, according to Guinness Book of World Records. Twelve feet in diameter, it was baked on Oct. 8, 2005, by the New Bremen GiantPumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice, and 250 pounds of crust.


Number of places in the U.S. named after the holiday’s traditional main course; Turkey Creek Village, La.; Turkey Creek, Ariz.; Turkey City, Texas; and Turkey Town, N.C. There are also 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in the name. 


Number of places and townships in the U.S. named Cranberry. 


The number of Wampanoags present at the first Thanksgiving.


19% of Americans say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday (Christmas is first at 46% and Halloween third at 9%).

25% of Black Friday shoppers hit the stores by midnight on Thanksgiving.

47% of Americans say apple pie is one of their top three pie picks.

76% of Americans start their meal with a prayer.

79% of Americans said eating Thanksgiving leftovers is more important than eating their regular Thanksgiving meal.

88% of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to National Turkey Federation surveys.