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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





November 26, 1789

The First Thanksgiving Designated by
the U.S. Government is Celebrated

On this day in 1789, the first Thanksgiving designated by the U.S. Government was celebrated as proclaimed by George Washington on October 3rd of that year. Up until that time, Thanksgiving had been observed on various different dates during various times of the year. On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be held on the final Thursday in November.

This tradition continued with succeeding U.S. Presidents until 1939, a year in which November contained five Thursdays. That year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday, and then the following year changed it to the Thursday before the last Thursday to allow more time before Christmas. Although many adopted this change, others did not and continued to celebrate on the last Thursday while others celebrated both.

Finally in 1941 the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring that Thanksgiving be observed anually on the fourth Thursday in November regardless of how many Thursdays where in the month.