Why Thanksgiving is Always On a Thursday

It’s just about that time of year, folks! Turkeys, stuffing, casseroles, something about pilgrims, yadda yadda—we’re thankful for friends and family and enormous amounts of food. Its Thanksgiving!

Awesome! But have you ever stopped to wonder why, exactly, Thanksgiving always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November? Seems like a weirdly unspecific time, right? Christmas is on the 25th, Halloween is on the 31st… but Thanksgiving is just whatever day happens to be the fourth Thursday of November. Bizarre!

Of course, we have no way of knowing what day of the week the pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving. It’s known that the dinner occurred in mid-October, so that likely didn’t have much influence on the date long-term. It’s theorized by some that Thursday was often a day of worship for the puritans, and that they naturally chose to hold their annual day of thanks on a Thursday—just to simplify things. But how did we wind up giving thanks on exactly the fourth Thursday of November? Why do we hold Thanksgiving on a Thursday?

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Why Thursday ?

What does Thanksgiving history tells !

Well, in 1789, President George Washington declared Thursday, November 26th, to be a day of public thanksgiving. Every year following that, however, Thanksgiving was declared by presidential proclamation, and took place on varying days, and even in varying months! President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation in 1863 standardized the holiday as taking place on the fourth Thursday of ever November.

Unfortunately, in 1933, November had five Thursdays! Yeesh! Many retailers asked President Roosevelt to move the holiday up by a week, but he denied their request and this day was once more held on the final Thursday of the month.

Then—still during Roosevelt’s presidency—another five Thursday November occurred in 1939. Once more big businesses begged Roosevelt to observe Thanksgiving a week early, to give consumers more time to shop for their Christmas gifts—and he agreed! People absolutely freaked out, claiming that Roosevelt was catering to big business, and many states openly disagreed with the president, observing Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November yet again. As a result, Thanksgiving occurred twice, one week apart, for Americans all across the nation!

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Feast !!

Tired of the confusion, however, on December 26th, 1941, congress passed a law stating that it will always held on the fourth Thursday in November.

Of course, congress never passed a law stating that you had to line up for great Black Friday deals following Thanksgiving, but hey—why not save a bundle on flat screens while you can?
Anyway—now you have a story to share at the dinner table about why we hold Thanksgiving on a Thursday! Enjoy the holiday!

Author: Billie Hauk

24-year-old Tennessee local yokel, part-time LGBTQ+ journalist and blogger.

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