Why is Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November?

Thanksgiving Day is a feast celebrated in countries like the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. This special holiday in the U.S. is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November because of a proclamation in 1863 by then-President Abraham Lincoln stating that the last Thursday of every November is the official celebration for Thanksgiving Day across the U.S.  During that time, President Lincoln wanted to have a common day for all Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving instead of having people celebrate at different times of the year.  The desire for unity eventually led to a proclamation that the last Thursday in November would be Thanksgiving Day.

In the past, Thanksgiving was celebrated on different dates in different areas of the U.S.  Much of the feast was in celebration for a good harvest or good yield of crops.  Records have shown that it was in 1621 when the first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in the U.S.  A good harvest in the Plymouth colony was the reason for the first celebration of this holiday, and it was during that time that the colony had just been through a very harsh winter.  Winter back then literally meant less food, and when the time came that their harvest was good, the people celebrated and created Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day is often referred to as the start of the long Christmas and holiday season in the U.S.  Back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Thanksgiving Day was moved one week earlier to further lengthen the holiday season.  But in 1941, Thanksgiving Day was moved back to the fourth Thursday of November, and it has been celebrated on this particular day ever since.  During Thanksgiving Day, it is common for families in the U.S. to gather and have a dinner similar to Christmas parties and celebrations.  Many people also extend their celebration through the weekend to spend more time with friends and family as they thank the Lord for all their blessings received.

 

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