Sunday, November 12, 2017
A Very Brief History of America's National Day of Thanks
In the 242 years between the "First Thanksgiving" and Lincoln's proclamation, there was no
Thanksgiving continued to be celebrated the fourth Thursday of November until 1939. That year, in an attempt to urge Americans to shop more and early for Christmas, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November. In 1941, at Congress' urging, F.D.R. permanently returned Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday.
Americans aren't alone in enjoying a national day of thanksgiving. Many countries have a yearly thanksgiving celebration, which, like ours, is really a day to give thanks for the harvest. In 1621, what the English colonists celebrated was the fact they'd had their first harvest, thanks to instruction from the Native peoples, and weren't going to starve to death that winter. From Canada to Korea and many nations in between, people of the world annually give thanks for the earth's bounty.