In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving, according to Census facts.
Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619.
The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving.
248 million: Number of turkeys expected to be raised in the U.S. in 2011.
750 million pounds: Forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2011.
2.4 billion pounds: Total weight of sweet potatoes produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2010.
1.1 billion pounds: Total production of pumpkins in the major pumpkin-producing states in 2010.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
$1.38: Retail cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2010.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
116.7 million: Number of households across the nation.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census