Thanksgiving is a national holiday dedicated to celebrating the harvest, giving thanks to God, and eating lots of turkeys. The Thanksgiving holiday has been noted by several presidents. However, only one president has made it a national holiday. So, which president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? To dig deeper, let’s go back a little to the history of Thanksgiving.
Which President Declared Thanksgiving A National Holiday?
On Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of millions of Americans will radiate out across the country to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. There will be turkeys, pumpkin pie, and happy wishes for them. The story of this holiday is kept in the folk treasures of America. The holiday has passed many presidents, but which president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday?
Who Made Thanksgiving Official?
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation. He made this holiday official with a proclamation written by Secretary of State William Seward. This proclamation stated that from now on, Americans should regard the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God. He also used the opportunity as a way to express gratitude for the Union army’s significant victory in the midst of the Civil War.
However, the beginning of Thanksgiving didn’t begin with Lincoln. It was President George Washington who started the idea of Thanksgiving.
In 1789, the First Federal Congress passed a resolution and proposed that the President of the United States give the entire country a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, specifically on November 26, 1789, President George Washington announced the designation of Thursday, as “Day of Publick Thanksgiving”. It was also the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.
Even so, under the Washington presidency, Thanksgiving did not become official. Then came the time when Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was hesitant to make thanksgiving a national holiday. He felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, as celebrated on Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a country because it went against their edict on separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents have also agreed with him.
It wasn’t until the Lincoln Proclamation of 1863 that Thanksgiving Day was celebrated every year on the last Thursday of November.
Moving the Day
However, in 1939, the last Thursday of November fell on the last day of the month. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was concerned that a shortened Christmas shopping season could dampen the economic recovery, so he moved Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November.
Unfortunately, this change is not a popular one and is not accepted by everyone. Of which, 32 states agreed and issued similar statements while 16 states rejected the change and still consider Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. So the result is that in two years there are two days celebrated as Thanksgiving – one is the last Thursday in November, and the other is the following week.
To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed date for Thanksgiving. On October 6, 1941, the House of Representatives of the United States passed a joint resolution declaring Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. However, the Senate amended this resolution and established Make the fourth Thursday of November a legal Thanksgiving Day. Because they count the years when November has five Thursdays.
The House also agreed to the amendment, and finally, after much debate, President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, establishing the fourth Thursday in November as a Federal Thanksgiving holiday. Since that day, Thanksgiving has not been touched.
Some Fun Facts About Thanksgiving
It’s about the question: Which president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? Next, let’s have some fun with these interesting facts about this holiday.
- 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. The National Turkey Federation estimates that in the United States more than 280 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving, which is double the amount eaten during Christmas time.
- When is Thanksgiving Day? This date is not fixed. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Meanwhile, in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
- Since Harry Truman, every president has pardoned a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
- The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, which marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, which is the busiest time for shoppers, with major stores offering the biggest deals of the year.
- In the United States, places named after Thanksgiving are: Turkey; Texas; Turkey Creek, La; and Turkey, N.C. There are also nine American towns named “Turkey,” with three cities in Kansas.
- About 20% of cranberries are consumed in the US each year on Thanksgiving Day.
- The collarbone of a turkey is used in a Thanksgiving ritual for good luck.
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, broadcast live across the country on NBC, has been going on since 1924 but was interrupted for three years from 1942-1944 due to World War II. This is a parade organized by the retail chain Macy’s, going through a distance of 4km in central New York.
Thanksgiving is a special holiday for food, family, football, and Thanksgiving gifts. However, the truth is that few of us know this holiday well. It has a lot of interesting facts behind the history, traditions, and myths. So, before making your family’s turkey this year, take some time to learn some fun facts like Which president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? What is Thanksgiving history? Or fun facts related to it. At the very least, you’ll have some nice dinner conversations to contribute.