Why is Thanksgiving Always On a Thursday?

Thursday is a weird day for a holiday, right? Sure, some companies give their employees the Friday after Thanksgiving off, but many don’t, which means many Americans are lugging their turkey-filled bodies back to work after inhaling every piece of food in sight the day before.

A famed publisher even wrote to President Herbert Hoover in 1929, asking him to *please* move the holiday to Friday so we all get a three-day weekend for “thanksgiving, rest, pleasure and recreation” – amen, F.B. Haviland.

Historians don’t know exactly which day the legendary first Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and native Americans fell on, and it actually happened in October, not November, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. So why do we observe Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November?

The Farmer’s Almanac goes on to say that Thursday was a special day for Puritan colonists in New England, with ministers giving a religious lecture on Thursday afternoons, so that could have contributed to the Thursday Thanksgiving tradition (although, for a brief five-year period in the 1600s, Thanksgiving was held on Nov. 25).

At any rate, Thanksgiving has been held on a Thursday in November since George Washington’s presidency. Washington declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1789, partly to honor the new U.S. Constitution.

But it was President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed in 1863 that Thanksgiving would be held the last Thursday of November.

“He’s the father of the whole idea of a nation giving thanks for its advantages and privileges of living in a democracy like this,” said Harold Holzer, historian and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Katey Psencik and David Jackson