Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Thanksgiving Day on a Thursday? If you follow the turkey trail, it appears that the midweek celebration dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as Lecture Day. Yet Thanksgivings past haven’t always been celebrated on weekdays.
In 1777, the Continental Congress declared Thursday, December 18, as the first national American Thanksgiving, (What?) Then, in 1789, President George Washington proclaimed November 26, which that year happened to be on a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving. For more than 60 years thanksgiving celebrations were held on a specific date rather than a specific day. In 1836, President Abraham Lincoln, urged by more than 30 years of requests from Sarah Josepha Hale (the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), declared Thanksgiving Day to be the last Thursday of November. But wait, there’s more! In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an effort to increase retail sales during the Great Depression. This plan was greatly opposed—so much so that some folks began calling the holiday Franksgiving Day! It wasn’t until 1941 that Roosevelt reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday in November. Who knew Thanksgiving Day had such a tangled history!
So how will you be spending your Thanksgiving holiday? Cooking? Relaxing? Traveling? Watching football? Let us know!
Sending along a ton of thankful thoughts and best wishes for a relaxing and safe holiday! You deserve it!
Diane and Your Friends at The Mailbox