We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, no matter where or how you will be spending the holiday. We're thankful for your blog visits and comments.
This Thursday in the U.S. we'll celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
But that wasn't always the case either for the holiday or the celebration date and, over the years, it involved several U.S. Presidents.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by President George Washington after a request by Congress.
President Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, but not because he didn't favor a holiday celebration. Jefferson served from 1801-1809 and during that time presidents had to issue a special proclamation to recognize and celebrate a day of thanksgiving. These celebrations were traditionally prayerful events. Jefferson, who was a strong supporter of the separation of church and state, didn't believe in a national proclamation for such a celebration.
In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official federal holiday and proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." From then on the last Thursday of November became the standard celebration date for Thanksgiving.
In 1933, November had five Thursdays. Some retailers asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move the holiday up a week. Roosevelt declined and the celebration remained on the last Thursday of November.
Then in 1939 after the Great Depression has just ended and in a move to help retailers kickstart holidays sales and to provide jobs, Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday in November. There were five Thursdays in November that year.
An uproar ensued that this change commercialized the holiday . College and high school football coaches were angered that Thanksgiving Day games, previously set the last day in November would fall on a working day. In Massachusetts, the Plymouth board of selectmen wrote a letter of protest to Roosevelt. In the letter, the board chairman announced that Plymouth would not recognize the revised date, stating: “It is a religious holiday, and the president has no right to change it for commercial interests.”
By late November 1939, the country was divided. Six New England states plus 17 others disregarded an early Thanksgiving and celebrated on the last Thursday. The 22 remaining states (including most with Democratic governors) sided with Roosevelt, also a Democrat. Several states — Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas — celebrated both dates.
For two years the controversy continued since in 1940, Roosevelt announced that Thanksgiving would again be celebrated a week ahead of the traditional date. In 1939 and 1940, the altered Thanksgiving calendar was referred to as "Franksgiving."
By early 1941, Roosevelt bowed to the public outcry and even acknowledged that the date change hadn't brought about an economic upturn the previous two years. He reversed his position declaring that after the 1941 Thanksgiving, the holiday would revert to its original date. In December 1941, Congress passed a resolution to declare that Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Here's some Thanksgiving menu this 'n thats . . .
Wishing all who celebrate this holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. (We're traveling to spend time with both and will be taking a short blog break.)
- Turkey may not have been the entree of choice at the 1621 First Thanksgiving. Venison was thought to be more plentiful and wild fowl might have meant ducks or geese.
- Cranberry sauce would not have been a side dish. While cranberries may have been available, sugar needed to make the sauce was costly. Also, it's doubtful that a recipe had been created then.
- No sweet or white potatoes were available in 1621, so Pilgrims didn't include these sides. And, there were definitely no marshmallows back then.
- Pumpkin pie wasn't on the dessert menu. Pilgrims most likely didn't have butter or flour for the crust or even an oven to bake a pie and, of course, they would have needed a recipe. Pumpkins may have been served after baking in the coals. Pumpkin pie became popular in 17th century holiday celebrations and remains a favorite today.
May all the good things of life be yours, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the year. We're appreciative and thankful for all of you.