— How Did the US Thanksgiving End Up On The Fourth Thursday.
Have you ever wondered what’s so special about the US Thanksgiving day celebration and how it came to be. This Top 10 post helps addresses that. Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose.
On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year in the United states. As a federal holiday across the United States, government offices are closed and all employees are paid for that day. It is also a holiday for the New York Stock Exchange and most other financial markets and financial services companies.
Dambela brings you Top 10 facts you probably never knew about this special holiday in the United States.
1. The Thanksgiving event which most Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.
2. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally in the United States on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by President George Washington after a request by Congress.
3. The US third president Thomas Jefferson did not declare any thanksgiving days during his presidency as he was a known deist who didn’t believe in the idea of divine intervention. The tradition was only renewed by his successor James Madison in 1814.
4. By 1858 proclamations appointing a day of thanksgiving were issued by the governors of 25 states and two territories.
5. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November 1863. Since then, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
6. The Thanksgiving, New Years, Christmas, and July 4 independence day are the Four holidays included in the Holidays Act signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on June 28, 1870.
7. Abraham Lincoln’s successors followed his example of annually declaring the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. However in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke with this tradition due to November of that year having five Thursdays rather than the more-common four, He went on to declare the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving rather than the fifth one. Roosevelt’s change was widely ignored. Twenty-three states went along with his recommendation while 22 states did not.
8. On December 26, 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill, from both houses of the U.S. Congress passing a joint resolution fixing the traditional last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. This bill made it the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a federal law.
9. Turkey pardoning: Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has always presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys, in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. John F. Kennedy was the first US president that was reported to spare the turkey presented to him while President Ronald Reagan was the first to grant the turkey a presidential pardon in his 1987 turkey.
The turkey was then sent to a petting zoo were it spends the rest of their lives. The practice of pardoning turkeys in this manner has since then become a permanent tradition. Upon assuming the presidency in 1989, George H. W. Bush, who served as vice president under Ronald Reagan, made the turkey pardon a permanent annual tradition a tradition that has been carried on by every US president each year since then.
10. Professional football games are usually held on Thanksgiving Day as part of activities marking the celebration. The American football event is among the important part of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.
Having seen our Top 10 facts about the US Thanksgiving. Do you think other countries should follow suit and have a Day of Thanksgiving instituted in their various countries. Lets hear from you.