Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
There are a few important things about Thanksgiving week that the US Census Bureau can’t claim to have tallied up.Those would include Americans’ collective thoughts of gratitude, the nation’s highest-decibel football fans, or the number of turkey sandwiches consumed during the days following the holiday.
But data from the Census and other sources do provide some numerical insights into what is arguably the most cherished national holiday.
No knife and fork needed, just read on.
That's a college football conference, but here we're talking about the number of big football games over the long weekend. And the number 10 is artificially conservative.
In college football, the high-intensity match-ups include Arkansas versus Louisiana State, Ohio State vs. Michigan, Notre Dame vs. USC, Alabama vs. Auburn, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Clemson vs. South Carolina.
The National Football League will contribute many more.
Here are just the three to be played on Thanksgiving Day itself: Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions, the Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys, and (in the evening) New York Jets vs. New England Patriots.
The list could go on of course. (Fill in the blank with your favourite local teams.)
That's the estimated number of turkeys raised this year in Minnesota, the top turkey-producing state in the country.
A substantial share of them will show up on dining tables this week.
After Minnesota, the highest-producing states are North Carolina (36 million), Arkansas (29 million), Missouri (18 million), Virginia (17 million), and Indiana (17 million). The six states together account for about two-thirds of US turkeys.
They named the town for the port in England from which the Mayflower sailed, located near the mouth of the River Plym. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous in America, with 71,561 residents in 2011, according to the Census Bureau.
Plymouth, Mass., had 56,767 residents.
There is just one township in the United States named Pilgrim. Located in Dade County, Mo.
Four places are named after the holiday's traditional main course. They are Turkey Creek, La.; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, N.C.; and Turkey Creek, Ariz. In addition, 11 townships have Turkey in their names.
But they're outmatched by Illinois, which leads the nation in output of the rugged orange gourds.
To be precise, the Land of Lincoln is also the land of 520 million pounds of pumpkins.
That should pave the way for plenty of pie.
If Massachusetts could boost its cranberry production by this percentage, the state that was home to the Pilgrims could become the nation's leading producer of the tart berries.
That title currently rests with Wisconsin, which is harvesting 450 million pounds of cranberries this year.
Together with Massachusetts (210 million pounds), the two states account for most of the nation's 768 million pound cranberry harvest.
Ring a bell?
The website of the current day Plimoth Plantation (a living history venue in Massachusetts) says the feasting and 'sport' (recreation) was 'not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude' by the Christians from Europe.
And for the Wampanoag, 'Giving thanks for the Creator's gifts had always been a part of ... daily life' and of celebrations.
This is how many pounds of sweet potatoes -- another popular Thanksgiving side dish -- were grown in the major producing states in 2011.
Leading the way was North Carolina, at 1.3 billion pounds harvested.
Drawing on her influence as the editor of the women's magazine Godey's Lady's Book, she publicly petitioned several presidents to make it an annual event.
Ms. Hale's efforts finally bore fruit in 1863, as President Lincoln agreed that a national Thanksgiving might serve to unite a war-torn country.
Although succeeding presidents continued to make Thanksgiving an annual event, it was only in 1941 that Congress formalized the date as the fourth Thursday each November.
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