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What is Thanksgiving? It's Meaning and Why We Celebrate

  • Thanksgiving in the United States is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November
  • Farmer's Almanac says the legendary first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Native Americans was held in October, not November
  • The Almanac goes on to say that Thursday was a special day for Puritan colonists, with ministers giving sermons on Thursday afternoons…that may have contributed to a Thursday Thanksgiving tradition
  • George Washington declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1789 on Thursdays in November
  • Abraham Lincoln proclaimed on Oct. 3, 1863 that the last Thursday of November to be "set apart and observed" as a day of thanksgiving
  • Into the mid-20th Century, some retailers were concerned that Thanksgiving occurring late in November would cut into Christmas sales
  • With confusion over the actual date, Congress, on Dec. 26, 1941, passed a law declaring the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day
- Special Thanks to USA TODAY

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