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Thanksgiving Day: November 22, 2012
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In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of PlymouthColony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event manyregard as the nation"s firstThanksgiving. Historians have alsorecorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in NorthAmerica, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619. The legacy of thanksand the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a nationalholiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday ofNovember as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Rooseveltclarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursdayof the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasionalfifth Thursday.

Thanksgiving Day by the numbers:

254 million: The number of turkeys expected to beraised in the United States in 2012. That is up 2 percent from the numberraised during 2010.1.1 billion pounds:Total production of pumpkins in the major pumpkin-producingstates in 2011. Illinois led the country by producing an estimated 520 millionpounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Pennsylvaniaand Ohio also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state producedat least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced in the UnitedStates was $113 million.768 million pounds: The forecast for U.S.cranberry production in 2012. Wisconsin is estimated to lead all states in theproduction of cranberries, with 450 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts(estimated at 210 million).64,380: The number ofgrocery stores in the United States in 2010. These establishments are expectedto be extremely busy around Thanksgiving, as people prepare for theirdelightful meals.

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37: Number of places andtownships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landingsite of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 71,561residents in 2011; Plymouth, Mass., had 56,767. There is just one township inthe United States named Pilgrim. Located in Dade County, Mo., its populationwas 131 in 2011. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,298in 2011, and Mayflower Village, Calif., whose population was 5,515 in 2010.

Source:U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features


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