In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November. However, in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress passed a law that changed the date to the fourth Thursday (not always the final one). They felt it would give the country an economic boost (we’re not sure how but whatever).
2. Why is turkey the main staple of the Thanksgiving meal?
According to lore, in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth celebrated the harvest festival with roast goose. So goose became the favorite meal of the English people at harvest celebrations. But in America, the early settlers substituted goose with turkey because wild turkeys were in greater abundance.
3. Why are customary side dishes served during the Thanksgiving meal?
White potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing, fall vegetables and pumpkin pie were indigenous to the Americas or were introduced as new foods to the settlers when they came here. (Chips and dip is a modern addition that goes part and parcel with the Detroit Lions game.)
4. When did the Thanksgiving Day Parades become tradition?
The Philadelphia Parade started in 1920 and was originally produced by Gimbels. The New York Macy’s Parade started in 1924. The Detroit parade also started in 1924 and was originally produced by The J.L. Hudson Company; and the Carolina Carousel Parade (held in Charlotte) started in 1947 and was produced by Belk.
5. When did the NFL Football games become tradition?
The NFL has played games on Thanksgiving every year since its inception. The Detroit Lions have hosted a game every Thanksgiving since 1934 (except between 1939 and 1944 due to World War II). In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys also began hosting Thanksgiving games. In 1975 and 1977 the St. Louis Cardinals hosted the game instead of the Cowboys and were supposed to continue hosting them every other year; but the TV ratings and attendance of those contests were poor. So Dallas agreed to resume hosting but only if they were promised that the Thanksgiving game would always be kept in Dallas.