Greetings, trivia enthusiasts! Unravel the layers of American Thanksgiving with our curated list of Thanksgiving trivia questions!

We’ve compiled a set of challenging questions that promise to add a new dimension to your understanding of this celebrated holiday.

But first, a nod to the diverse ways gratitude is expressed globally.

While Thanksgiving finds a place in various cultures, our focus remains on American Thanksgiving traditions.

Let’s jump straight into the quiz and discover the unique facets of this time-honored American celebration. Ready, set, turkey time!

History of Thanksgiving Trivia Questions

1. In what year did Thanksgiving officially become a national holiday in the United States?


Although various presidents had declared days of thanksgiving before, it was President Abraham Lincoln who officially established Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the Civil War, aiming to foster unity.

2. Who is credited with the idea of making Thanksgiving a national holiday?

Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential editor and author, advocated for the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday for many years. Her efforts finally paid off when President Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday in 1863.

3. Which Native American tribe is often associated with the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving?


The Wampanoag tribe played a crucial role in the first Thanksgiving, sharing food and knowledge with the Pilgrims. Their interaction is often seen as a symbol of early cooperation between European settlers and Native Americans.

4. What was the original purpose of the Mayflower’s journey to the New World?

Religious Freedom

The Pilgrims sought religious freedom and a place where they could practice their faith without persecution. Their journey aboard the Mayflower aimed to establish a new community where they could live according to their religious beliefs.

5. Which food item, commonly associated with Thanksgiving, was not likely present at the first Thanksgiving feast?


While the exact menu of the first Thanksgiving remains uncertain, historical records suggest that turkey may not have been part of the original feast. Instead, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag likely enjoyed a variety of meats, seafood, and local produce.

6. What document, signed in 1620, established a form of self-government for the Pilgrims?

Mayflower Compact

Before disembarking from the Mayflower, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, a document outlining the principles of self-government. This early form of governance played a significant role in shaping the future political structure of the Plymouth Colony.

7. What was the primary crop cultivated by the Pilgrims that played a vital role in their survival?

Corn (Maize)

Corn, or maize, was a staple crop for the Pilgrims and played a crucial role in their survival during the harsh New England winters. The Native Americans also taught them how to cultivate and utilize this essential crop.

8. Which Pilgrim is often credited as the governor of Plymouth Colony and a key figure in the early Thanksgiving celebrations?

William Bradford

William Bradford, elected as the governor of Plymouth Colony, was instrumental in organizing the first Thanksgiving feast. His leadership and diplomatic skills helped establish friendly relations between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans.

9. What event inspired the Pilgrims to embark on the perilous journey to the New World?

Persecution in England

Facing persecution for their religious beliefs in England, the Pilgrims sought refuge in the New World. The desire for religious freedom and the opportunity to practice their faith without interference motivated their challenging journey aboard the Mayflower.

10. What role did Squanto, a Native American, play in assisting the Pilgrims during their early years in America?

Interpreter and Mediator

Squanto, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, played a crucial role as an interpreter and mediator between the Pilgrims and Native American communities. His assistance was vital in establishing peaceful relations and facilitating mutual understanding.

Thanksgiving Parades Trivia Questions

11. Which famous cartoon character made its first appearance as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Felix the Cat

Felix the Cat was the first giant balloon to appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. The original Felix balloon was filled with air and held up by stilts.

12. Where did the first known official Thanksgiving parade in the United States take place, predating both Macy’s and America’s Thanksgiving Parade?


In 1920, Philadelphia hosted the first official Thanksgiving parade in the United States, known as the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade. This historic event laid the foundation for the tradition of Thanksgiving parades that would later spread to other cities.

13. What popular beverage brand has been a sponsor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for more than 60 years?


Ram has been a sponsor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2015. Ram trucks tow the floats down the parade route. In 2023, three Ram trucks were wrapped to match the floats for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Santa Claus.

14. What inspired the creation of the giant character balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade during the 1920s?

Puppeteer Tony Sarg

Tony Sarg, a puppeteer and artist, was the creative mind behind the introduction of giant character balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His innovative idea added a whimsical and enchanting element to the parade, captivating audiences and establishing a tradition that continues to this day.

15. Which famous rock band had a larger-than-life inflatable turkey float featured in the 1973 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?


In a memorable and somewhat unconventional moment, Aerosmith’s inflatable turkey float soared above the streets of New York City during the 1973 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, leaving an indelible mark on the history of Thanksgiving parades and adding a rock-and-roll flair to the festivities.

Turkey Trivia Questions

16. Which U.S. president made the annual tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey an official and lighthearted gesture?

Bill Clinton

While the unofficial sparing of turkeys dates back to John F. Kennedy, it was President Bill Clinton who formalized and continued the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey in a more whimsical and official manner during his presidency.

17. What is the term for a group of wild turkeys typically seen foraging together?

A flock

Wild turkeys, social creatures by nature, form flocks for protection and increased chances of finding food. These flocks are often comprised of hens, poults (young turkeys), and sometimes a dominant male, known as a tom.

18. Which part of a turkey is considered the most tender and is often prepared separately?


The tenderloin is a boneless, skinless cut from the turkey breast that is considered one of the most tender parts of the bird. It’s a versatile cut that can be prepared in many different ways.

19. What is the process of soaking a turkey in a saltwater solution to enhance its flavor and moisture called?


Brining involves soaking the turkey in a mixture of salt, water, and sometimes sugar and spices. This process not only adds flavor to the turkey but also helps it retain moisture during cooking.

20. What is the purpose of the fleshy growth on the top of a turkey’s head that can change color with its mood?


The snood, a fleshy protuberance above the turkey’s beak, serves various purposes, including indicating the turkey’s mood. It can change color from pale to vibrant red, signaling excitement or calmness.

21. What is the term for the bony protuberance on a turkey’s chest that is often used in courtship displays?


Caruncles, the bony growths on a turkey’s chest, play a role in courtship displays. During mating rituals, male turkeys puff up their caruncles to appear larger and more attractive to potential mates.

22. How fast can a wild turkey run on the ground when it needs to escape from predators?

20 to 25 miles per hour

Wild turkeys are surprisingly fast runners, capable of reaching speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour when they need to evade predators on the ground.

23. What is the lifespan of a domesticated turkey raised for Thanksgiving compared to its wild counterpart?

Domestic: 2 to 5 years, Wild: 3 to 4 years

Domesticated turkeys raised for Thanksgiving typically have a shorter lifespan, ranging from 2 to 5 years, compared to their wild counterparts, which can live 3 to 4 years on average.

24. What is the term for the flap of loose skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck?


The wattle, a loose flap of skin hanging from a turkey’s neck, is a distinctive feature. While it may not serve a clear purpose, it adds to the overall appearance of the turkey.

Thanksgiving Food Trivia Questions

25. What is the main ingredient in the traditional Thanksgiving dish known as “candied yams”?

Sweet Potatoes

“Candied yams” is a classic Thanksgiving side dish made by cooking sweet potatoes with butter, sugar, and often topped with marshmallows.

26. Which state in the U.S. is renowned for its cranberry production and is a significant contributor to Thanksgiving meals?


Wisconsin is a leading producer of cranberries, and its cranberry bogs contribute significantly to the Thanksgiving table, with cranberry sauce being a staple in many households.

27. What early American dish, made from corn, played a crucial role in the Pilgrims’ survival and is still enjoyed today during Thanksgiving?


Cornbread, a staple in Southern cuisine, traces its origins back to the Native American technique of grinding maize. Pilgrims learned to incorporate corn into their diet, and today, cornbread remains a popular and comforting Thanksgiving side dish.

28. Which spice, often associated with pumpkin pie, is a key ingredient in many Thanksgiving desserts?


Cinnamon adds a warm and aromatic flavor to many Thanksgiving desserts, including pumpkin pie, making it a quintessential spice during the holiday season.

29. What fruit is often used as a natural sweetener in cranberry sauce, balancing the tartness of the cranberries?


Many cranberry sauce recipes include orange zest or juice as a natural sweetener, complementing the tartness of the cranberries and adding a citrusy twist to the classic Thanksgiving condiment.

30. In what decade did the tradition of deep-frying turkeys become popular in the United States?


The deep-frying of turkeys gained popularity in the 1980s, bringing a new and flavorful cooking method to Thanksgiving celebrations. This technique involves immersing the turkey in hot oil, resulting in a crispy and golden exterior.

Thanksgiving and Harvest Festival Traditions Around the World

31. In Germany, they celebrate Erntedankfest, their version of a harvest festival. What is a common tradition during this celebration?

Decorating with Harvest Offerings

During Erntedankfest, Germans decorate churches and homes with harvest offerings, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, to express gratitude for the bountiful harvest. This tradition reflects the appreciation for nature’s abundance and the importance of giving thanks.

32. In Ghana, the Homowo festival is a harvest celebration with a unique ritual. What do participants do during the “cleansing of the community” ceremony?

Sprinkling Homowo Food

In the cleansing ceremony of the Homowo festival, participants sprinkle traditional Homowo food, such as kpekple and kpokpoi, on the streets to purify and bless the community. This ritual is believed to drive away evil spirits and ensure a prosperous harvest season.

33. Diwali, the Festival of Lights celebrated in India, includes expressions of gratitude. What food item is commonly shared among friends and family during this festival?

Sweets (Mithai)

Diwali, a festival symbolizing the victory of light over darkness, includes the exchange of sweets, or Mithai, among friends and family. Sharing these sweet treats is a gesture of joy, love, and gratitude during the festive season.

34. In the United Kingdom, the Harvest Festival is often celebrated with a unique tradition involving schoolchildren. What do the children bring to school during this celebration?

Harvest Loaves

During the Harvest Festival in the UK, schoolchildren often bring Harvest Loaves to school. These loaves, made from freshly harvested grains, symbolize the importance of giving thanks for the abundance of the harvest and sharing with those in need.

35. In Brazil, the Festa de Ação de Graças, or Thanksgiving celebration, is observed with a special dish. What is a typical food item enjoyed during this festival?

Turkey with Brazilian Flair

Brazilian Thanksgiving celebrations often feature a roasted turkey, but with a Brazilian twist. It might be seasoned with traditional Brazilian spices, reflecting the country’s unique culinary flavors while embracing the essence of gratitude and togetherness.

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