The Great American (and SkillPath) Thanksgiving Quiz

A week from now, you’ll all either be up at dawn’s early light for Black Friday sales, or you’ll still be in bed recovering from a food coma. As I doubt hardly any of you will be reading many blogs next week, I decided to do my Thanksgiving quiz today so maybe some of you will read it.

You’re all on the honor system when it comes to scoring (“Hey look, we all got 100%!!!”). And, there are no prizes for you perfect people except for the warm glow you’ll feel for being superior to everyone else in every way at your holiday party. You have my permission to quiz your brother-in-law who thinks he knows everything and make him feel stupid. Or, ladies, hold your encyclopedic knowledge of these questions over your mother’s head when she starts comparing your cranberry sauce recipe (which is delicious, by the way) to hers (meh …). I’ll take yours any day of the week.

Next week, other than maybe a “What does your favorite pie say about your work personality?” blog, this might be the last time we’re together before the four-day holiday weekend. Please have a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Also, remember our military men and women abroad who are separated from their loved ones. Send them your good wishes as well and let them know we’re thinking of them. Here’s a link to the USO (United Service Organizations) if you’d like to get an early start to holiday giving.

Finally. a special “thanks” to and for some of the questions and the information to create the quiz!



1. Which wild bird was NOT on the Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving menu?

A) Turkey

B) Duck

C) Goose

D) Bald Eagle


2. The Pilgrims celebrated the First Thanksgiving in:

A) The Five Points in New Amsterdam (New York City)

B) Plymouth, Massachusetts

C) Technically … in the area of what is now Halifax, Nova Scotia

D) Jamestown, Virginia


3. FACT OR FICTION: Thanksgiving is held on the final Thursday of November each year.


4. What landmark is known as the place where the Pilgrims landed in America?

A) Pilgrim’s Rock

B) Patriot’s Rock

C) Plymouth Rock

D) Providence Rock


5. The Pilgrims came to America:

A) For religious freedom

B) To Christianize the native Indians

C) To escape unfair criminal charges in England

D) To trade tea for animal furs


6. FACT OR FICTION: One of our Founding Father’s thought the turkey should become the national bird of the United States.


7. FACT OR FICTION: Native Americans used cranberries, now a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, as a medicine.


8. The Native American Indians who celebrated the First Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims were from which tribe?

A) Cherokee

B) Mohican

C) Wampanoag

D) Pequot


9. The baby born aboard the Mayflower on the trip from England was named:

A) Firstus

B) Miles

C) Seamus

D) Oceanus


10. Before carrying the Pilgrims to America, the Mayflower was:

A) What we would consider today to be a cruise liner of the time for nobility

B) A passenger ferry between England and Normandy

C) A warship against pirates

D) A wine vessel


11. The turkey is native to North America and was first taken back to Europe from:

A) Massachusetts

B) Florida

C) Virginia

D) Kentucky


12. What event inspired a U.S. President to proclaim Thanksgiving an annual holiday?

A) The 200th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing

B) The bombing of Hiroshima

C) The Battle of Gettysburg

D) The Armistice and the end of World War I


13. The Pilgrims’ three-day Thanksgiving festival, a feast for 50 colonists and 90 Indians, was prepared by the surviving widows among the Pilgrims. How many “hostesses” were there?

A) Two

B) Four

C) Seven


14. FACT OR FICTION: The tradition of playing or watching football on Thanksgiving started with the first National Football League (NFL) game on the holiday in 1934.


15. Which of these U.S. Presidents could claim Mayflower ancestry?

A) George Washington

B) Gerald Ford

C) George H.W. Bush

D) Franklin Pierce


16. FACT OR FICTION: Turkey contains enormous amounts of tryptophan, and that is why people get sleepy soon after Thanksgiving meals.


Thanksgiving Quiz Answers: How Did You Score?


Question 1: D is the correct answer. The Pilgrims did NOT eat bald eagle at the First Thanksgiving. Another made-up fun fact: Bald eagle is one of only four meats on the planet that does not “taste like chicken”!

Question 2: B is correct! The Pilgrims celebrated the First Thanksgiving in 1621 at their Plymouth, Massachusetts, settlement.

Question 3: Fiction. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. However, in 1939, after a request from the National Retail Dry Goods Association, President Franklin Roosevelt decreed that the holiday should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month (and never the occasional fifth, as occurred in 1939) in order to extend the holiday shopping season by a week and help out retailers hurt by the Depression. Two years later, the fourth Thursday was officially proclaimed a national holiday by Congress.

Question 4: C is correct! Plymouth Rock marks the place where the Pilgrims landed.

Question 5: A is the answer. The Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution.

Question 6: Fact. In a letter to his daughter sent in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States than the bald eagle (which had been chosen earlier by the Continental Congress). He argued that the turkey was “a much more respectable Bird,” “a true original Native of America,” and “though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage.”

Question 7: Fact. According to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, one of the country’s oldest farmers’ organizations, Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, including “pemmican”—a nourishing, high-protein combination of crushed berries, dried deer meat and melted fat. They also used it as a medicine to treat arrow punctures and other wounds, and as a dye for fabric. The Pilgrims adopted these uses for the fruit and gave it a name—”craneberry”—because its drooping pink blossoms in the spring reminded them of a crane.

Question 8: C is the answer. The Wampanoag Indians assisted the Pilgrims in their first year and shared the first Thanksgiving dinner with them.

Question 9: The correct choice is D. Oceanus Hopkins was born aboard the Mayflower during the Pilgrims’ two-month voyage to America. Not surprising they named him after a large body of water as his mother, Lakeous, and father, Streamus Hopkins tended to like aquatic names.

Question 10: D again! The Mayflower was a wine vessel before its historic role as the Pilgrims’ America-bound transportation. That’s probably ironic as most of the passengers were Puritans that didn’t drink.

Question 11: B is right! The Spaniards brought the first turkeys back to Europe from Florida. Of course, Europeans coming back from Kentucky introduced fried chicken to the world. And sporks!! Finger lickin’ good!

Question 12: Did you choose C? President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863, three months after the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.

Question 13: It’s B! The job of preparing the first Thanksgiving feast fell to the four married women who survived the Pilgrims’ first winter in Plymouth. And, like moms throughout history, none of them actually got to sit down and enjoy a hot dinner because they were too busy taking care of the idiot menfolk who ate too much, or kids that didn’t want anything on the table to eat except a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not that this scenario EVER played out in my house. Nope … never.

Question 14: Fiction. The American tradition of college football on Thanksgiving is pretty much as old as the sport itself. The newly formed American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day in 1876. At the time, the sport resembled something between rugby and what we think of as football today. By the 1890s, more than 5,000 club, college and high school football games were taking place on Thanksgiving, and championship match-ups between schools like Princeton and Yale could draw up to 40,000 fans … a remarkable number in those days. The NFL took up the tradition in 1934, when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit stadium in front of 26,000 fans. Since then, the Lions game on Thanksgiving has become an annual event, taking place every year except during the World War II years (1939–1944).

Question 15: C is correct. George H.W. Bush is a descendant of two Mayflower passengers, John Howland and Francis Cooke. Other U.S. Presidents with Mayflower ancestors are: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And, of course, George W. Bush.

Question 16: Fiction.  Yes, turkey contains tryptophan, which is a component of serotonin, the hormone in the brain that turns into the more well-known sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. However, tryptophan is also in many meats and cheeses, and the amount of tryptophan in turkey is less than, say, the equivalent of a piece of cheddar cheese. In order for you to start feeling drowsy from JUST turkey means you ate 5.4 pounds of it. Whoa … slow down, tubby. In order to get the much-discussed “turkey coma”, you’d have to eat 8.6 pounds, or the equivalent of your baby cousin, in turkey. Doctors are pretty universal in the opinion that it’s all the massive carbohydrates and fats you engorge yourself with on Thanksgiving that causes you to unbutton the pants and take a nap on the couch afterwards.

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