Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends

 

This week, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. While not unique to the US (Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving a little earlier), this holiday is for many Americans their favorite holiday of the year. It is the time when families get together to appreciate each other and give thanks for their blessings. This year, more than 48 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday, exceeding the number of travelers in the past several years.

The famous pilgrim celebration in 1621 at the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts is traditionally regarded as the first American Thanksgiving. In fact, the first Thanksgiving in America took place in 1541, when the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his expedition held a Thanksgiving celebration in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle, about 500 miles from our Austin office. Fortified by this hearty meal, Frank’s crew went on to discover the Grand Canyon and several other famous landmarks.

Teacher Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) campaigned for 20 years to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She lobbied congressmen, governors, and five presidents before Abe Lincoln agreed to declare the last Thursday in November a national Thanksgiving holiday. In 1941, Congress modified this and established the fourth Thursday in November as the national holiday.

Turkey is the traditional fare for the American Thanksgiving dinner. It just so happens that turkey was the most plentiful meat when the whole tradition got started. Today, 91% of Americans eat turkey for Thanksgiving… that’s a lot of turkey. Roughly 46 million turkeys will be served up this year – that’s almost as many turkeys as there are in Washington DC. 😉

Impress your friends with these turkey-related factoids:

  • The average Thanksgiving turkey weighs 15lb (almost 7 kgs).
  • The average American will consume about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day — about 3,000 for the meal and an additional 1,500 for snacking.
  • Given this, it is not surprising that the day after Thanksgiving Day is the busiest of the year for companies like Roto-Rooter who are called to unblock “overwhelmed” sewer systems!
  • Male turkeys gobble and so they are called gobblers. Females, of course, are called hens. A young male is called a jake and a young hen is a jenny. Babies are called poults (or chicks).
  • Male turkeys tend to be bigger than females, have beards (although so do ~10% of hens), sharp spurs for fighting, bright red wattles and caruncles (look that up), and blue cheeks.
  • Interestingly, a 1997 study in the Journal of Avian Biology found that female turkeys prefer males with long snoods (yes, size does matter in turkey land) and that snood length is also a reliable predictor of the winner in a competition between two males.
  • There are several acceptable collective pronouns for turkeys, including brood, clutch, crop, dole, dule, gang, herd, mob, muster, posse, raffle, rafter, run, school, and… particularly fitting this time of year… a death-row of turkeys!

Thanksgiving is also a time to think of those who are less fortunate than us. There are many organizations that do yeoman’s work caring for folks who are hungry and/or homeless, and this year Packet Design employees spent a few hours helping two of them (one in Austin and one in San Jose) prepare for Thanksgiving. And our team in Pune, India volunteered their time at a home for senior citizens in need. It was also a time to celebrate availability of Explorer Suite v16 and recognize the hard work that went into this release – our best ever!

So, as we prepare to celebrate the holiday, we thank you for being in our circle of friends. Whether you use our products, read our blog, or follow us on social media, you are the reason we come to work every day. So, to all our US friends from everyone at Packet Design, have a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!

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