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Is Thanksgiving 2022 a national holiday?

The US tradition of thanksgiving is one of the eleven national holidays the country observes a year.

Update:
US President Joe Biden greets a military family while arriving to a "Friendsgiving" celebration in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina, on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSONGetty

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. It is one of the biggest celebrations in the United States, moreso considering the end of restrictions related to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Turkey is the icon of the holiday. The first Thanksgiving feast happened in 1621. This was the year the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared the first autumn harvest feast together, marking the start of the tradition. However, it was not until 1870 that the holiday was enshrined in law.

How has Thanksgiving changed over the centuries?

The tradition of celebrating this day in late November goes all the way back to colonies in Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth, according to History.com. The occasion was a feast, rooted in the popularity of “Lecture Day”, a holiday that was centred around a midweek church sermon. One of the most famous Thanksgiving happenings was in 1621, when the then-governor of Plymouth, William Bradford, invited local Native Americans to join the Pilgrims in celebrating the bountiful harvest for a three day long bonanza.

In the 17th century, Thanksgiving became a yearly tradition throughout New England. It was George Washington who in 1789 first declared Thanksgiving a holiday. He set the date as 26 November, also a Thursday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the US Constitution. Then decades later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared it was the modern national holiday we now enjoy – fixing the date for the last Thursday of November with Congress ratifying this seven years later.

On 26 November 1941, Franklin D Roosevelt signed a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day, and therefore the first Thanksgiving national holiday.