HOLIDAY ESTABLISHED ON THIS DAY IN 1941

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President
Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the
fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early
history of the Plymouth and
Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-
harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as
“Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were
presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn
of 1621, when Plymouth governor
William Bradford invited local Indians
to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty
of the season.

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the
17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first
national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga
and 1789, President
George Washington became the first president to
proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he
proclaimed November 26, a Thursday, as a day of national thanksgiving
for the U.S.
Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President
Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last
Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated
nationally.

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Eleanor Roosevelt watched as FDR carves the Thanksgiving turkey
at their Warm Springs, Georgia home.


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