Thanksgiving 2023: The Thanksgiving holiday, which originated in the 1500s, gained notoriety in 1621, and was observed even during the most dire hours of the American Civil War, is now one of the most anticipated and cherished days in the United States. It is observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November (November 23, 2023). Without a doubt, no other secular holiday is steeped in tradition. Thanksgiving has become synonymous with food, football, family, and friends; it is a rare holiday observed without a traditional gift-giving component. Conversely, the day encourages everyone to be thankful for the possessions they already possess.
The Origins Of Thanksgiving
The narrative does not inherently commence with the Pilgrims.
In what is now Florida and New Mexico, Spanish explorers and settlers held Thanksgiving services in the late 1500s, according to available evidence. In the region that would later become the Commonwealth of Virginia, Thanksgiving celebrations began as early as 1607. Notably, the inaugural Thanksgiving was observed in 1610 in Jamestown.
Thanksgiving, the ‘First’
The Plymouth colonists, commonly referred to as the Pilgrims, did not reach the New World until ten years later. Three days were spent in Plymouth in jubilation following their initial harvest in 1621. The assembly comprised fifty Mayflower passengers (the remaining one hundred from the initial 100) and ninety Native Americans. In addition to juvenile daughters and other servants, the four adult Pilgrim women who had survived their first winter in the New World prepared the meal.
Historical Revolutionary Periods
Throughout the duration of the conflict, the Continental Congress designated one or more Thanksgiving days annually and recommended their observance to the executive branches of the various states. In remembrance of the British defeat at Saratoga, revolutionary commander George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving in December 1777 as a victory celebration.
During its tenure as legislative authority over the United States from 1774 to 1789, the Continental Confederation Congress proclaimed a number of “national days of prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving.” Eventually, this would materialize into the customary American celebrations of Thanksgiving and the National Day of Prayer, which continue to this day.
Elias Boudinot, a congressman from New Jersey, introduced a resolution in 1789 urging both the House and Senate to request President Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving in recognition of “the numerous signal favors of Almighty God.” Then, Washington established the first Thanksgiving Day mandated by the United States government. It stated, “Therefore, I do recommend and designate Thursday, November 26th, the following day, for the United States people to devote to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the benevolent Author of all that was, is, and will be.”
Decades later, the holiday would continue to be inconsistent.
The Civil War Period
On the last Thursday of November, which was November 26, 1863, President Lincoln officially designated that date as National Thanksgiving Day. William H. Seward, secretary of state, authored the proclamation which stated, in part:
“Amidst an unprecedented and severe civil war, which at times appeared to external states as an invitation and incitement to their aggression, peace and order have been maintained with all nations, adherence to the law, and harmony have prevailed everywhere with the exception of the theater of military conflict.”
“Therefore, I extend an invitation to all my compatriots in the United States, as well as those who are traveling abroad or at sea, to designate and observe the final Thursday of November the following year as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our Benevolent Father in Heaven.”
Since then, the United States has observed Thanksgiving.
Subsequent presidents adopted Lincoln’s practice of officially designating the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving from the fifth to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939. FDR believed an earlier Thanksgiving would extend the time merchants had to sell their wares prior to Christmas, thereby contributing to the nation’s recovery from the Great Depression. Since its enactment in 1942, the fourth Thursday has been observed as a federal holiday.
FAQs on Giving Thanks
Thanksgiving arrives so late, why?
Subsequent presidents adopted Lincoln’s practice of officially designating the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving. However, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt rescheduled Thanksgiving from November 5 to the fourth Thursday of that month. FDR believed an earlier Thanksgiving would extend the time merchants had to sell their wares prior to Christmas, thereby contributing to the nation’s recovery from the Great Depression. Since its enactment in 1942, the fourth Thursday has been observed as a federal holiday.
What is the significance of Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday?
Instead of the fifth, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed November’s fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving. FDR believed an earlier Thanksgiving would extend the time merchants had to sell their wares prior to Christmas, thereby contributing to the nation’s recovery from the Great Depression.
In which week of the year 2022 is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving 2021 occurs during the 47th week.
Engaging in Thanksgiving-Related Activities
Before settling in for a cozy, home-cooked meal, extend an invitation to your family to assist in the shelter as community volunteers. It provides an opportunity for the entire family to do something good and is a wonderful method to assist those less fortunate.
Construct a pie.
Among the traditional Thanksgiving fare are pies. Apple, pecan, pumpkin, or cherry—it is literally impossible to go wrong. Commence preparations by donning an apron and preheating the oven.
Establish a takeout custom
Thanksgiving preparations can require hours. Numerous dining establishments offer Thanksgiving banquets. Establish a new custom by placing an order for takeout. It could be your beloved pizza joint, the Chinese restaurant across the street, or Indian curry. Additionally, compensate well! The focus of the day is on expressing gratitude.
Five astounding facts about giving thanks
Four municipalities bear the name “Turkey.”
Four distinct municipalities situated in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana are designated with the appellation “Turkey.”
Considerable calories are ingested.
An average of 4,500 calories are consumed throughout the course of Thanksgiving celebrations.
Turkey can be celebrated in the manner of the 17th century.
In order to relive Thanksgiving as it was celebrated in the 1600s, one must visit a location in Plymouth, Massachusetts where permits for Thanksgiving celebrations are sold months in advance.
The inaugural Macy’s Thanksgiving Day procession
Early in the 1920s, the inaugural Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade lacked enormous vessels and balloons.
An estimated 46 million turkeys are prepared annually for Thanksgiving dinners in the United States.