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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2021, 2022 and 2023

Thanksgiving Day easily ranks among the most popular of all US holidays. Thanksgiving is a nationally-observed public holiday in the United States on the fourth Thursday of every November. It is a huge feasting day, a mega-travel day, and a time of family togetherness that knows few equals.

YearDateDayHolidayStates
202125 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
26 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
202224 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
25 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
202323 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
24 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
202428 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
29 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

Thanksgiving Day has a long, storied, and much-disputed history. The main debate is over its true origins. Most, however, agree that the “first Thanksgiving” occurred when the Plymouth pilgrims feasted and thanked God for their first new-world harvest in 1621. There were many members of the nearby Wampanoag tribe who attended as well, and it was a moment of peace in what later became a long, tired conflict between American settlers and Indians.

In reality, however, declaring thanksgiving days was a Protestant tradition of longstanding by the time the Pilgrims did so in 1621. And there were a number of sporadic thanksgiving days in the US from the one declared by George Washington in 1789 until the permanent establishment of Thanksgiving Day by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Lincoln’s date for Thanksgiving was the final Thursday of November, and since November sometimes has five Thursdays, that differs slightly from the modern date of the fourth Thursday. The present date was finalized by President FDR in 1942. FDR had just previously taken a lot of heat for trying to move the holiday to the third Thursday, but Congress helped him find a way out of the controversy!

Today, Thanksgiving Day in the US is the biggest eating day of the year. Turkey is the mainstay, so much so that some have taken to calling the holiday “Turkey Day.” Bread stuffing, sweet corn, green bean casserole, candied yams, baked and buttered squash, mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are among the most traditional foods you’ll find on a Thanksgiving plate. It is traditional to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the poor and to give donations to help the poor this time of year so they too can have a happy Thanksgiving.

Attending church on or around Thanksgiving is also a custom. It is customary for people to share something they are thankful for during the service. Many times, you meet relatives and friends you haven’t seen for some time at Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s a time for catching up with each other. Faith, family, and food seem to be the “Three Fs” of Thanksgiving Day.

There are some parades that take place on Thanksgiving Day, the largest and most famous being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. The appearance of Santa Claus at the tail-end of the parade signals the tradition of Thanksgiving Day being the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season. Many people put up their Christmas trees on the day after Thanksgiving. Sports also have a big part to play on Thanksgiving Day. Football is especially prominent, but there are also off-season golf matches, auto races, and more.

Beginning with President Ronald Reagan in 1987, it has been traditional for the US President to pardon a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. This event is watched by millions on TV each year.

On the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season opens up with the biggest shopping day of the year, called Black Friday.

Previous Years

YearDateDayHolidayStates
202026 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
27 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
201928 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
29 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
201822 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
23 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV
201723 NovThuThanksgiving Day National
24 NovFriThanksgiving Friday CA, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS,
KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC,
NE, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN,
TX, VA, WA & WV