Wow, can you believe that it’s time for the holidays already? Here we are taking our place with the crowds at the grocery stores and markets getting all the things we need for Thanksgiving dinner. Family members are gathering and the familiar fragrances of the holiday drift from the kitchen. No matter how large or small our group, it’s a time we look back at the year and see those things we’re thankful for.
Our celebrations take place around a bountiful table with shared stories, laughter and memories. We all know from school about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth. It was a feast to celebrate their survival. Did you know that the holiday became official through a Presidential proclamation? In October of 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving in the middle of a Civil War. This official standing made it a nationally recognized celebration that had predominantly been observed in New England until then. Lincoln set the last Thursday in November as the day to observe Thanksgiving.
During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, in 1939, 1940, and 1941, the holiday was moved back to the third Thursday to extend the Christmas shopping season and further stimulate the economy. A huge controversy ensued, as you can imagine, and Congress got involved. They passed a resolution in 1941 that set Thanksgiving as the third Thursday of November. All this did is cause more confusion and some states followed one way of deciding the date and some followed another. As a result in December of 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation that designated the fourth Thursday in November as national Thanksgiving Day, to take effect starting in 1942.
This may be more than you wanted to know about how we actually set the day for our holiday, but Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!