Thanksgiving celebrated 150 years after declared national holiday

Nov. 28, 2013 at 10:24 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- About 115 million U.S. households planned to celebrate Thanksgiving, 150 years after it became a national holiday, the U.S. Census Bureau said.

The annual tradition of Thanksgiving began in the early 1600s by British pilgrims in Virginia and was declared a national holiday on Oct. 3, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

He proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a national day of thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt later declared the holiday to fall on the fourth Thursday of November to encourage earlier holiday shopping.

The U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday some related statistics, indicating:

-- Four municipalities in the country are named after the holiday's main course, including Turkey Creek, La.; Turkey, Texas; Upper Turkeyfoot, Pa.; and Lower Turkeyfoot, Pa.

-- Seven places are named after the popular Thanksgiving condiment of cranberries.

-- 32 places include the name Plymouth, referencing the landing site of the first pilgrims.

-- 242 million turkeys were raised in the United States in 2013, down 5 percent from 2012.

-- 768 million pounds of cranberry were produced in the United States.

-- 2.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes were produced, a major side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.

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