When is Thanksgiving Day 2017?

Thanksgiving Day Dates, Recipes, History

When is Thanksgiving

This year, the U.S. Thanksgiving is November 23 and the Canadian Thanksgiving is October 9. Here’s a brief history of this all-important feast day, why turkey is traditional, and a Thanksgiving recipe that’s sure to please!

Thanksgiving Dates

Thanksgiving in the United States is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October.

Year U.S. Thanksgiving Canadian Thanksgiving
2017 Thursday, November 23 Monday, October 9
2018 Thursday, November 22 Monday, October 8
2019 Thursday, November 28 Monday, October 7

Thanksgiving History

In a 1789 proclamation, President George Washington called on the people of the United States to acknowledge God for affording them “an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness” by observing a day of thanksgiving. Devoting a day to “public thanksgiving and prayer,” as Washington called it, became a yearly tradition in many communities.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863. In that year, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln made his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. He asked his fellow citizens to “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise …”

It was not until 1941 that Congress finally designated the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day, thus creating a federal holiday. Read more about Sarah Josepha Hale, the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” who helped turn this historic feast into a national holiday.

Of course, Thanksgiving is not born of presidential proclamations. Native American harvest festivals had been celebrated for centuries, and colonial services dated back to the late 16th century. Thanksgiving Day, as we know it today, began in the early 1600s when settlers in both Massachusetts and Virginia came together to give thanks for their survival, for the fertility of their fields, and for their faith. The most widely known early Thanksgiving is that of the Pilgrims in Plimoth, Massachusetts, who feasted for 3 days with the Wampanoag people in 1621.

Note that Thanksgiving Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October and has different origins. The first Canadian Thanksgiving Day was observed on April 15, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.


Why is Thanksgiving Celebrated With Turkey?

Turkey has become the traditional Thanksgiving fare because at one time it was a rare treat. During the 1830s, an eight- to ten-pound bird cost a day’s wages. Even though turkeys are affordable today, they still remain a celebratory symbol of bounty. In fact, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets for their first meal on the Moon.  

How much do you know about our native all-American bird? See more Turkey Trivia—and test your fellow Thanksgiving diners.


Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas

  • While you’re here, take a peek at our list of Thanksgiving Recipes—including some historically-inspired dishes.
  • The best part of a Thanksgiving meal is often the leftovers! See our recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.
  • In need of a Thanksgiving table decoration? Try making a glove turkey!


The Old Farmer's Almanac

Reader Comments

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When we change the way we look at things...

Give thanks for healthy living and living according to God's plan. Give thanks!

Thanks enjoy it.

Thanks enjoy it.


There is a need for thanksgiving; only GOD can make a nation great, when you remove God you are left with a shadow

Do all States celebrate

Do all States celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November?

Hi Stan, Yes, Thanksgiving in

Hi Stan, Yes, Thanksgiving in the U.S. has been a federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November since 1941.

Am so happy this year that my

Am so happy this year that my eyes see thankginging again this year make god help us out aman

I brought up a free calendar

I brought up a free calendar on my IPad for 365 days a year. While looking up Holidays I ran across Thanksgiving. It was marked the 4th of November 2013 which is a Monday. Someone else had mentioned this date sometime ago. I told them No it is November 28, 2013. By the other responses here they say the same thing. Have you heard this date before, and do they mean 4 for the 4th Thursday?

For the U.S. Thanksgiving: In

For the U.S. Thanksgiving: In 1941 that Congress designated the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October. 

I thought the rule was that

I thought the rule was that Thanksgiving was always the 4th Thursday. I have seen calendars with Thanksgiving on the 3rd Thursday(21st)(http://www.holidaysmart.com/20...)for 2013, and calendars with Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday(28th) but not any calendars with five Thursdays in November for 2013.

Thanksgiving dates,

Thanksgiving dates, 2012–2022
November 22, 2012
November 28, 2013
November 27, 2014
November 26, 2015
November 24, 2016
November 23, 2017
November 22, 2018
November 28, 2019
November 26, 2020
November 25, 2021
November 24, 2022

The thanksgiving ceremony

The thanksgiving ceremony first celebrated by the Pilgrims was in obedience to the Old Testament festival specified in Ex 23:16; Le 23:34; and De 29:12 Harvest festivals are common to agricultural societies and though the native Americans in attendance at that precedent setting feast also probably celebrated at the end of harvest, they were guests--not the hosts. Should we restore Biblical literacy, much of our nation's heritage would become easily understood.

Amen. I agree with you 100 %.

Amen. I agree with you 100 %.

I am confused. It says

I am confused. It says Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday of the month. But when it falls on the 22 it is not the last Thursday. so explain that plese..

Nowadays, the rule is the

Nowadays, the rule is the "fourth Thursday of November," which is why in 2012 it falls on November 22.

Before 1942, however, the date for Thanksgiving had a confusing history. The "last Thursday of November" was the rule from 1863 to 1939 (except in 1865, when President Andrew Johnson proclaimed the first Thursday in December as Thanksgiving Day, and in 1869, when President Ulysses S. Grant chose November 18, which was the third Thursday in November).

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date to November 23, the next-to-last Thursday of the month, in order to lengthen the holiday shopping season and aid retail businesses. But this caused confusion, and only about half of the states used this new date, while the others kept Thanksgiving on the last Thursday (or celebrated it twice). In December 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation that designated the fourth Thursday in November as national Thanksgiving Day, to take effect starting in 1942. The date has not changed since that time.

because of leap year it made

because of leap year it made november have 5 thursday normally it only has 4 thanksgiving so thanksgiving is on the 4th thursday. which is the 22nd.

Thanksgiving falls on the

Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November not the last Thursday.

This is the 4 th Thursday in

This is the 4 th Thursday in November .We have a total of 5th Thursday in November this year.

The last Thursday must be

The last Thursday must be November the 35th I guess.

No, we only have 4 Thursdays and Thanksgiving is the last Thursday this year.

Fourth Thursday is not always

Fourth Thursday is not always the LAST Thursday in any month. Article clearly states the fourth Thursday

The ruling is the 4th

The ruling is the 4th Thursday on the month of November, not the last if the month has five like in 2012 because the first of November was on a

In Canada we make it simple always the second Monday of October and in some states it is Columbus day. Wish we in Canada had our own day and the US could move Colombus to the 3rd Monday. Look at Congress to make it complicated