Buy the 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac!

Why is Thanksgiving always on a Thursday?

Question: Why is Thanksgiving always on a Thursday?

Answer: Thursday seems to have evolved first as tradition, then as a matter of national law. We don't know for sure which day of the week the Pilgrims' famous first Thanksgiving actually occurred, for instance. That Thanksgiving, interestingly, took place in mid-October, not November. For a brief time beginning in 1668, November 25 was considered the "legal" annual day of Thanksgiving, but that practice lasted only five years. It may be that Thursday became tradition in order to distance the event from the Sabbath day among the Puritan colonists. Thursday was also a typical day for lectures in New England, with ministers giving a religious talk each Thursday afternoon. This practice may have contributed to the Thursday Thanksgiving tradition. Since George Washington's time, Thursday has been the day, and this was solidified by Abraham Lincoln's proclamation in 1863 designating the national day of Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of November. Later that was amended to the fourth Thursday in November. It's important here to note that neither Lincoln, nor anyone else, ever declared the Friday after Thanksgiving as the national day of shopping.


Shop Wind Bells in the Almanac General Store