When & How Did Thanksgiving Become a National Holiday?

You may have heard about the first Thanksgiving, but the holiday did not become a national one until many years later. Do you know when and how Thanksgiving became a national holiday? It really is an interesting story and because of it each and every year on the fourth Thursday in November we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

The History

You are probably well aware of the first Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims and the Indians go together and gave thanks for the bountiful harvest. That was in 1621. However, the first Thanksgiving did not lead to a traditional holiday and certainly not to a national one since the nation didnt exactly exist. It did play a role, however, in what would come. Eventually Thanksgiving began being celebrated more and more as the country grew and people wanted to give thanks. A real American Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the entire country just after the Revolutionary War. But still, it was not a national holiday.

Then, when Abraham Lincoln was in office he declared the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day in 1863. That is when it finally became a national holiday. Every president since Lincoln has also declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

In 1941 Congress set the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November. This reversed a decision by President Roosevelt to celebrate Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November to give people more time to shop for Christmas.

Today, we all look forward to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. We celebrate friends, family, and prosperity and thank God for His blessings. Many families have different takes and traditions for Thanksgiving, but the overall theme is a family meal and giving thanks for all of lifes blessings.

Now you know how Thanksgiving became a national holiday. Most people think after the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving they continued giving thanks in this fashion each and every year and the tradition spread and eventually became a national holiday. But, it didnt happen that way. It was many years after the first Thanksgiving that Lincoln declared a national holiday and then many years after that when it became permanently celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November.