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Thanksgiving Myths, Facts and Trivia

Thanksgiving: History, origin and traditions of an American holiday.

The First Thanksgiving: Myth vs. Fact
What historians really know about the 1621 harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachussetts and how it evolved into the Thanksgiving holiday we know today.

FDR and Thanksgiving
It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, in his 1939 Thanksgiving Proclamation, gave the annual holiday its current date: the second-to-last Thursday in November. About's 20th Century History Guide Jennifer Rosenberg explains why he ordered the change.

A Folklorist's View of Thanksgiving
Esaúl Sánchez and folklorist Roger D. Abrahams discuss "the ubiquitious, universal, populist turkey and Thanksgiving."

The History of Thanksgiving
"Travel back to Plymouth and hear from some pilgrims to find out what the original celebration was actually like!" -- From the History Channel.

Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Full text of the October 3, 1863 decree that made Thanksgiving an official U.S. holiday.

The Myth of Black Friday: Biggest Shopping Day of the Year?
Tradition has it that "Black Friday," the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States. Retail insiders say that is probably not the case.

The Myth of Cyber Monday: Biggest Online Shopping Day of the Year?
The first Monday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as "Cyber Monday" because it is supposedly the biggest online shopping day of the year. The actual statistics don't back that up.

The Myth of Holiday Suicides
Does the suicide rate in the United States increase over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? Experts say no. Here are the facts behind the urban legend.

Plymouth Rock
The real story behind the legendary landing spot of the Mayflower in 1620.

The Pregnant Turkey
Netlore Archive: For a Thanksgiving laugh, mom stuffs a roast turkey with a cornish game hen as a practical joke on her naive daughter.

The Presidential Turkey Pardon
Why do U.S. presidents feel compelled to issue an official pardon to a turkey each year before Thanksgiving? Did the "tradition" really start with Harry Truman? Or was it Abe Lincoln?

Thanksgiving in the Melting Pot
Anthropologist Dr. Sidney Mintz discusses holiday customs, food, gender roles, and commercialization.

Tryptophan: Is There a Chemical in Turkey that Makes You Sleepy?
Theoretically the amino acid tryptophan could make you sleeply, explains About.com's Chemistry Guide Anne Marie Helmenstine, but the true lethargy inducer in any Thanksgiving dinner is more likely to be the carbohydrate count.

A Virtual Tour of the Plimouth Plantation
It's 1627 all the time at Plimoth Plantation, the living history attraction in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that recreates the life of the Pilgrims and their Native neighbors. Take a virtual tour with About's New England for Visitors Guide, Kim Knox Beckius.

Wampanoag History
Detailed history of the Native American tribe without whose assistance the Pilgrims would have had little to be thankful for.

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