Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As you recover from your big meal you may wonder how Thanksgiving came to fall on this particular day, why it is that we eat Turkey and do any other countries celebrate the holiday. Those are all Good Thanksgiving Questions.
Why does Thanksgiving fall on the fourth Thursday in November?
Many people WCCO-TV asked on the Nicollet Mall this week could not tell us. The answer is that originally Abraham Lincoln made a “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation” on the last Friday of November.
But during the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt was pressured by merchants to change the date to allow more shopping time before Christmas. Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday of the month. In 1941, Congress made it official, and ever since then Thanksgiving has always been on the fourth Thursday in November.
Why do we eat turkey?
Several people told WCCO-TV they thought it was because the pilgrims and Native Americans ate it for the first Thanksgiving. But historians believe that historic meal likely featured venison and even lobster.
Most historians believe turkey became a Thanksgiving staple because it was relatively cheap, plentiful, and because turkeys are born in the spring and by November tend to be large and perfect for a large meal.
Do any other countries celebrate Thanksgiving?
A number of people we talked to said correctly that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday of October.
However, a number of other countries celebrate holidays similar to Thanksgiving, including Korea, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.