In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November—this year, on November 24. Why is it on the fourth Thursday of November? And what is the true story of Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims? How did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?
When Is Thanksgiving Day?
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States and is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2022, it will be observed on Thursday, November 24.
Thanksgiving in the United States
Since 1941, Thanksgiving has been held on the fourth Thursday in November . Which means that the actual date of the holiday shifts each year. The earliest date that Thanksgiving can occur on is November 22; the latest, November 28.
Interestingly, President Franklin Roosevelt had decided to move . Thanksgiving from the fourth Thursday in November to the third Thursday in November back in 1938. However, this was not a very popular move.
Thanksgiving Becomes a National Holiday
The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was observed for a slightly different reason than celebration of the harvest .It was in honor of the creation of the new United States Constitution! In 1789 . . President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26 of that year as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” . To recognize the role of providence in creating the new United States and the new federal Constitution.
Washington was in his first term as president, and a young nation had just emerged successfully from the Revolution. Washington called on the people of the United States to acknowledge God for affording them “an opportunity peaceably . To establish a form of government for their safety and happiness .This was the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.
Thanksgiving Becomes a Federal Holiday
While Thanksgiving became a yearly tradition in many communities—celebrated on different months and days that suited them—it was not yet a federal government holiday.
Thomas Jefferson and many subsequent presidents felt that a public religious demonstration of piety was not appropriate for a government type of holiday in a country based in part on the separation of church and state. While religious thanksgiving services continued, there were no further presidential proclamations marking Thanksgiving until the Civil War of the 1860s.
Thanksgiving Traditions and Rituals
A bountiful meal featuring turkey has become the traditional Thanksgiving fare, with over 90% of Americans eating the bird on this holidays. But did you know that turkey was at one time a rare treat? During the 1830s, an eight- to ten-pound bird cost a day’s wages!
Even though turkeys are much more affordable today, they still remain a celebratory symbol of bounty. In fact, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets for their first meal on the Moon.
Thanksgiving Weather Folklore
- Turkeys perched on trees and refusing to descend indicates snow.
- If the first snow sticks to the trees, it foretells a bountiful harvest in the coming year.
- If sheep feed facing downhill, watch for a snowstorm.
- Thunder in November indicates a fertile year to come.
- If there be ice in November that will bear a duck, there will be nothing thereafter but sleet and muck.
- As November 21st, so the winter.
- When the winter is early, it will not be late.