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 designated the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day, thus creating a federal holiday.
However official, the idea of a special day for giving thanks was 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 Plymouth, Massachusetts, who feasted for 3 days with the Wampanoag people in 1621.
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.
Question of the Day
What is the best way to deodorize my car?Clean all the upholstery and carpeting with a mixture of vinegar and water. Sponge it in and blot with a towel. You can clean the remaining interior surfaces the same way.
Advice of the Day
To clean a steam iron, fill it with vinegar, let sit overnight, and flush with water.
Home Hint of the Day
To hammer in a small brad without hammering the fingers that hold it, poke the brad through the edge of a piece of cardboard, holding it while you tap the brad in most of the way. Then pull the cardboard free and pound the nail flush.
Word of the Day
Chin-wagLight informal conversation for social occasions.
Puzzle of the Day
Why is a pair of skates like an apple?Because they have both caused the fall of man.
- Franz Gruber(composer)– 1787
- Andrew Carnegie(industrialist)– 1835
- Benjamin Barr Lindsey(publicist)– 1869
- Georg Kaiser(dramatist)– 1878
- Laurence Stallings(playwright)– 1894
- Virgil Thomson(composer)– 1896
- Helen Gahagan Douglas(politician)– 1900
- Joe DiMaggio(baseball player)– 1914
- John Larroquette(actor)– 1947
- Amy Grant(singer)– 1960
- John F. Kennedy, Jr.(son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy)– 1960
- Christina Applegate(actress)– 1971
- Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Welch Bush(fraternal twin daughters of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush)– 1981
- Upton Sinclair(writer)– 1968
- Anthony Burgess(author)– 1993
- Flip Wilson(actor & comedian)– 1998
- Rance Howard(actor)– 2017
- First sword-swallower performance in the U.S.– 1817
- First YMCA in North America opened, in Montreal, Quebec– 1851
- Last log entry for Mary Celeste before crew disappeared– 1872
- Greenback Party (originally, National Independent Party) organized– 1874
- American College of Surgeons incorporated– 1912
- Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity– 1915
- The first door to King Tut’s tomb was opened– 1922
- President John F. Kennedy was buried at 3:34 pm EST in Arlington National Cemetery– 1963
- Robert S. Ledley granted a patent for CAT scan– 1975
- Rene Levesque became premier of Quebec– 1976
- U.S. chess champion John Donaldson wed Soviet champion Elena Akhmilovskaya– 1988
- Ireland voted to legalize divorce– 1995
- A tornado ripped through Portland, Arkansas– 1926
- Steubenville, Ohio, received 36.3 inches of snow– 1950
- West Virginia received 57 inches of snow– 1950
- A blizzard hit the Appalachian states and nearby areas. Hartford, Connecticut, recorded gusts of 100 miles (160km) per hour.– 1950
- Winds atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire were recorded at 160 miles per hour– 1950