Thanksgiving Facts, Date, History, and Observance
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How To Determine The Date of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in November.
Federal Holiday Status
Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States. Learn more about federal holidays.
Reason We Celebrate Thanksgiving:
To give thanks.
Observance of Thanksgiving:
- Give thanks for everything we have and enjoy.
- Thanksgiving meal enjoyed with (extended) family and friends, consisting of Turkey and fixings.
- Macy's Thanksgiving parade in New York City
- Thanksgiving Football games
- Listen to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" which is played on many radio stations on Thanksgiving.
- The day after Thanksgiving is the unofficial kick off to
holiday shopping, called "black Friday" (named black Friday because
retailers usually go into the black (profit) from strong sales on this
About the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving
- The pilgrims left England for New Holland to escape religious persecution.
- They decided to go to America because they did not like their life in New Holland.
- The boarded the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620.
- Their first winter was terrible and they lost many of their group.
- Their first harvest in the fall of 1621 was bountiful.
- The celebrated the harvest with the Indians that helped them survive. The feast lasted for three days.
How Thanksgiving was Declared a National Holiday:
- Thanksgiving started out as a controversial holiday. Several people wanted to have an official day of thanksgiving, including George Washington, who proclaimed a National Day of
Thanksgiving in 1789. Several people did not want it including
President Thomas Jefferson.
- Sarah J. Hale, a magazine editor, urged President Lincoln to reinstate Thanksgiving Day.
- In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
- Every President since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day. But
in 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving
the third Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season.
This upset people.
- In 1941, congress declared Thanksgiving as
a national holiday. Thanksgiving was declared to be the fourth Thursday in