Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday, celebrated in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday in November. On that day, everyone traditionally gathers for a feasting. The mere word Thanksgiving evokes memories of football, family reunions, roasted stuffed turkey and of course, pumpkin pie.
The first Thanksgiving celebration is traced to 1621 when the settlers held a feast after their first successful harvest. This wasn’t an official holiday yet; it lasted three days, and was celebrated on and off in the years to follow.
Thanksgiving Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln, and was set on the fourth Thursday of November by the Congress. In 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation calling on all Americans to “set apart & observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving.”
For decades after Lincoln, Americans traditionally celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, even if it fell on Nov. 30 — as happened in 1939, the end of an economically troubled decade. Some merchants worried that a late Thanksgiving would cut down on Christmas sales and asked President Roosevelt to move the holiday up by a week — which he did, creating unanticipated havoc. Some states celebrated it on the 23rd of November, while the others, on the 30th date. This created scheduling issues for holiday traditions ranging from family reunions to football games.
Congress eventually stepped in. On Dec. 26, 1941, less than a month after the attack at Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, Congress passed a law declaring the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, where it remains to this day.
And to think of it, Thanksgiving Day is only four months away.
This post was written in response to The Daily Post Prompt: Feast.