Thanksgiving Day on fourth Thursday of November

Nov. 28,2019

In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November—this year, on November 28! Why is Thanksgiving so late this year? Why do we celebrate this all-important feast day? Enjoy a brief history of the holiday, Thanksgiving trivia, folklore, and more!

WHEN IS THANKSGIVING? | THANKSGIVING DATES

Thanksgiving in the United States is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October (read more about Canadian Thanksgiving).

WHAT DAY IS THANKSGIVING?
Year U.S. Thanksgiving Canadian Thanksgiving
2019 Thursday, November 28 Monday, October 14
2020 Thursday, November 26 Monday, October 12
2021 Thursday, November 25 Monday, October 11
2022 Thursday, November 24 Monday, October 10

WHY IS THANKSGIVING SO LATE THIS YEAR?

Does Thanksgiving feel a little later than usual this year? You’d be right! We’re certainly noticing more than the usual overlap with Christmas decorations.

Thanksgiving occurs on November 28 in 2019, which is, in fact, the latest date that it can possibly occur on. The last time Thanksgiving landed on the 28th was in 2013, and before that, in 2002. 

Since 1941, Thanksgiving has been held on the fourth Thursday in November, which means that the actual date of the holiday shifts each year. The earliest date that Thanksgiving can occur on is November 22; the latest, November 28.

What’s interesting is that President Franklin Roosevelt decided to move Thanksgiving from the fourth Thursday in November to the third Thursday in November back in 1938.  However, this was not a popular move. (Read more about this story below.)

WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF THANKSGIVING?

Prior to the formal establishment of Thanksgiving, Native American harvest festivals had been celebrated for centuries, with colonial services dating back to the late 16th century. The autumnal feasts celebrated the harvest of crops after a season of bountiful growth. 

In the early 1600s, communities of 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 Plimoth, Massachusetts, who feasted for three days with the Wampanoag people in 1621.

Today, folks celebrate Thanksgiving for a multitude of reasons. For some, it remains a way to express gratitude for the harvest or to a higher power; for others, it’s a holiday built upon being with family and simply enjoying delicious food.

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