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SOURCE: Tibco Spotfire Business Intelligence Blog:

Tomorrow, nearly 91% of Americans will don their stretchy pants for a turkey dinner. In honor of the day of the year when we’re most thankful, we’re bringing you a little food for thought on the data analytics of Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving The Data Analytics of Thanksgiving

The first course of Thanksgiving analysis brings us way back to the 1600s – 1621 to be exact. This is believed to be one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America; the Plymouth colonists (known as the Pilgrims) and the Wampanoag Indians gathered around the dinner table to celebrate a harvest feast. And turkey did not grace the table.

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln pronounced a national Thanksgiving day every November. (

Since 1934, Turkey Day has been a favorite day for NFL action and if you’re into stuffing your face and watching the big games, there’s a whole host of stats and info available on the Pro Football Hall of Fame site.

In 1939 and 1940, President Roosevelt decided to move Thanksgiving a week earlier to protect the holiday shopping season. Some states celebrated on the third Thursday; others celebrated on the fourth. In 1941, Congress sanctioned the last or the fourth Thursday of November (when there are five weeks in the month).

Timid Turkeys

America’s favorite bird has a  bit of a weak heart. The U.S. Air Force discovered that the sound of breaking the sound barrier during test runs scares turkeys to death – they suffer heart attacks when too frightened.

The wild ones can even run up to 20 miles per hour and fly up to 55 miles per hour when they’re scared featherless. Domestic turkeys (the ones we eat) aren’t so fortunate. They are considered too fat to fly.

National Bird?

While the turkey is the national bird of Thanksgiving, the tasty tom did not make the cut for national bird, much to Benjamin Franklin’s dismay.

Side Items

The most popular sides for Thanksgiving include 245 Statues of Liberties worth of green bean casserole, 6,800 football fields worth of corn and 2,700 swimming pools of mashed potatoes.

To Grandma’s House We Go!

According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans aren’t missing Grandma’s stuffing this year. The WSJ reported Tuesday that about 42.5 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday. About 90% of the travelers will drive. That’s 4% over the same period in 2010.

Next steps: Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and Tweet us with your favorite Thanksgiving dish.

Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

– See more Thanksgiving Stats! 

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Blog Publisher / Head of Data Science Search

Founder & Head of Data Science Search at Starbridge Partners, LLC.