Thanksgiving Day Fast Facts

Here's some background information about Thanksgiving Day, celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2015, Thanksgiving is on November 26.

Facts:
46.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving
in 2014, a 4.2% increase from 2013, according to AAA.

According to the USDA, 242 million turkeys are expected to be raised in the United States in 2014.

856 million pounds of cranberries are expected to be produced in the United States in 2014.

2.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes are expected to be produced in the United States in 2014.

The president traditionally receives a turkey in a ceremony at the White House a few days before Thanksgiving Day. President Harry S. Truman started the tradition and President George H. W. Bush was the first to pardon the bird and not eat it.

Timeline:
Fall 1621 -
The first Thanksgiving is observed in Plymouth. A good harvest leads Massachusetts Governor William Bradford to plan a festival to give thanks. Around 90 Native Americans attend.

1789 - President George Washington issues a proclamation naming November 26 a day of national thanksgiving.

There was no national Thanksgiving Day for several years, but many states had Thanksgiving holidays.

October 3, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.

1939 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt moves Thanksgiving Day one week earlier to boost the Christmas shopping season.

1941 - Congress rules that the fourth Thursday in November will be observed as Thanksgiving Day and a federal legal holiday.