Why Thanksgiving is Always on the Fourth Thursday of November

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 Americans across the country 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 “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?

It took the trauma of the Civil War to make Thanksgiving a formal, annual holiday.

Lincoln issued his proclamation on Oct. 3, 1863, three months after Union Army victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and at a time in which ultimate triumph appeared in sight. “There was a lot to be thankful for in the fall of 1863,” said Allen Guelzo, the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Katey Psencik and David Jackson