There’s so much to do before, during and after Thanksgiving. In fact, it makes you wonder how the Pilgrims did it, especially since they didn’t even have a microwave to reheat the gravy or the ability to get a turkey dinner delivered to their door.
Come to think of it, they’d just traveled to America on a boat named the _________________. Know the answer? If you’re stumped, then it’s time to brush up on your Thanksgiving trivia. Even if you’re pretty sure there isn’t going to be a quiz right after dinner is served, these fun facts will still come in handy throughout the Turkey Day festivities.
We’ve got all the questions and answers in one spot. Make your best guesses, then challenge your family and friends to do the same. By the time you work your way through this list, you’ll be the resident Thanksgiving expert.
Impress everyone with fun facts about the holiday’s history and meaning, like where the Pilgrims landed when they first arrived on America’s shores (spoiler: not Plymouth Rock) or how the cherished cranberry got its name.
Speaking of cranberries, where does cranberry sauce fall on the list of most popular Thanksgiving dishes? The answer is … wait a minute, we’re not going to make it that easy! Read on to find out.
- Question: How many passengers were on the Mayflower? Answer: 102
- Question: When was the first Thanksgiving feast held?Answer: November 1621
- Question: What was on the menu of the first Thanksgiving?Answer: Venison, goose, duck, fish, and porridge or bread made from corn.
- Question: When was Thanksgiving declared a national celebration? Answer: President George Washington designated November 26 as a Day of National Thanksgiving in 1789.
- Question: In 2021, how many people shopped between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday? Answer: Nearly 180 million Americans, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
- Question: When was it decided that Thanksgiving would be observed on the last Thursday in November? Answer: On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation, stating the last Thursday in November was Thanksgiving.
- Question: When did the Mayflower officially depart England for America? Answer: September 6, 1620
- Question: How was the Mayflower’s voyage from England to America? Answer: 66 days
- Question: Where did the Pilgrims first land when arriving on America’s shores? Answer: Provincetown, Massachusetts
- Question: Where did the Pilgrims settle? Answer: Though the Mayflower initially landed off the coast of Cape Cod, they decided to settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
- Question: What was the first official act of legislation by the Pilgrims? Answer: On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower Compact was written and signed by the male Pilgrims and passengers of the Mayflower laying the groundwork for the first government.
- Question: How did the cranberry get its name? Answer: Originally called “craneberry,” Pilgrims likened the pink blossoms that appear on cranberries to the heads of Sandhill Cranes.
- Question: How many cranberries are in one pound?Answer: It depends, but about 440.
- Question: How many cranberries are produced each year?Answer: US farmers harvest approximately 40,000 acres annually.
- Question: How long did the first Thanksgiving feast last?Answer: three days
- Question: How many colonists were living in America in 1620? Answer: Approx. 2,499, according to the US Census Bureau.
- Question: How many places in the US have the word “Turkey” in their name? Answer: Seven, per the US Census Bureau — Turkey City, Texas; Turkey Creek, Arizona; Turkey Creek, Stone County, Arkansas; Turkey Creek, McPherson County, Kansas; Turkey Creek, Louisiana; Turkey, North Carolina and Turkey Valley, Yankton County, South Dakota.
- Question: How many Pilgrims were at the first Thanksgiving harvest feast in 1621? Answer: about 53
- Question: What household danger triples on Thanksgiving? Answer: home fire. There are more than three times the daily average calls about home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association.
- Question: What percentage of consumers had already started their holiday shopping by early November in 2021?Answer: 61% of shoppers got a jumpstart on their holiday shopping, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
- Question: How many hours does it take to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator? Answer: The National Grocers Association says you should allow 24 hours for each four to five pounds of frozen turkey.
- Question: True or false: In 2021, more people shopped online on Black Friday than they did on Cyber Monday. Answer: true. There were 88 million online shoppers on Black Friday compared to only 77 million on Cyber Monday, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
- Question: Once cooked, how long can turkey sit before it should be refrigerated? Answer: No longer than two hours.
- Question: How long should leftover turkey be stored?Answer: Leftover turkey can be stored for up to four days in the refrigerator. If turkey is stored in an airtight container, it can be stored in the freezer for up to two years.
- Question: What were the top three US Thanksgiving travel destinations in 2021? Answer: Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; and New York, New York, per AAA.
- Question: How many Pilgrims survived the first winter in America? Answer: About half
- Question: What were the top three international Thanksgiving travel destinations in 2021? Answer: Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Aruba, according to AAA.
- Question: On average, how many Americans hit the road for Thanksgiving? Answer: Roughly 50 million, according to AAA and INRIX.
- Question: Which Founding Father once proclaimed, “No citizen of the US shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day”? Answer: Alexander Hamilton
- Question: When is the worst time to travel for Thanksgiving? Answer: According to AAA and INRIX, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving between noon and 8:00 pm
- Question: How many places in the US have the word “Pilgrim” in their name? Answer: Two, per the US Census Bureau — Pilgrim, Michigan and Pilgrim, Dade County, Missouri.
- Question: Which US metro areas experience the worst pre-Thanksgiving congestion? Answer: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York City, according to AAA and INRIX.
- Question: How many turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving? Answer: The National Turkey Federation estimates Americans eat about 45 to 46 million on Thanksgiving.
- Question: True or false: Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year. Answer: False. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the busiest time for travel with upwards of 90 to 100 million Americans traveling during that time, according to AAA.
- Question: True or false: The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Sioux Native Americans. Answer: False. The Pilgrims joined the Wampanoag Native People (which includes the Mashpee, Aquinnah and Manomet groups) for the first harvest gathering.
- Question: Which state produces the most cranberries?Answer: Wisconsin Recent projections from Wisconsin’s cranberry growers show that the state will harvest more than 63% of the nation’s cranberry supply in 2022.
- Question: What are the top ten most popular Thanksgiving foods? The answers (in order), according to a survey by the National Grocers Association: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing, gravy, rolls and bread, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes or yams, apple pie, cranberry sauce and corn
- Question: What are the three most-disliked Thanksgiving foods? Answer: According to a 2021 survey by The Vacationer, cranberry sauce tops the list followed by turkey and green bean casserole.
- Question: What do Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon and Taylor Swift all have in common? Answer: According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, they’re all descendants of passengers or crew on the Mayflower.
- Question: True or false: Pilgrim Monument is located at Plymouth Rock. Answer: False. The Pilgrim Monument is located in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States.
More Thanksgiving fun right here!