Why Does Thanksgiving's Date Change Each Year?


Thanksgiving, as we know it, started back in 1789 when the First Federal Congress passed a resolution requesting President George Washington to name a National Day of Thanksgiving.

The United States had only been an independent nation, free from England, for about 13 years. Creating a national holiday gave this “new” nation a way to remember the Pilgrims who were some of the first to seek independence from England, while celebrating the Wampanoag Native Americans who helped the Colonist survive.

President Washington did as requested and proclaimed the 26th of November as the “Day of Public Thanksgiving” for that year, modeling it after the autumn harvest-feast shared back in 1621 by the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. (That first celebration is recorded as having 90 Wampanoags, 50 Plymouth Colonists and only five women. It lasted three days.)

While the subsequent Presidents honored such a national holiday, it never fell on the same day or month. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln changed that when he proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving.

Then, in 1941 another change was made. Because November sometimes has five Thursdays, there was some doubt on which Thursday should be Thanksgiving. To help stop the confusion, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a resolution, which had been passed by Congress and Senate, naming the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving.

So in actuality, Thanksgiving does not have a specific date. Instead, it has a specific day... the fourth Thursday in the month of November.

For more fun facts on Thanksgiving visit: https://thefactfile.org/facts-about-thanksgiving/

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