Home > history, holidays, social and cultural issues, U.S. Census Bureau > Facts for Features: Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 22, 2012

Facts for Features: Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 22, 2012

November 16, 2012

Facts for Features: Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 22, 2012

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619. The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

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