Thanksgiving Day Dates
When is Thanksgiving?
In the United States of America, Thanksgiving Day is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. So we got out our calendar and located the next six years for you:
2016 Date: Thursday, November 24, 2016
2017 Date: Thursday, November 23, 2017
2018 Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018
2019 Date: Thursday, November 28, 2019
2020 Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020
2021 Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
How did Thanksgiving end up on the 4th Thursday?
By the 1850s, governors in 25 states and two territories were proclaiming a day of thanksgiving. Various Presidents from President George Washington to President James Madison had also proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, though Madison’s were not in the fall.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day on the final Thursday of November. The day has been celebrated annually since his declaration in the middle of the American Civil War.
In 1939, there were five Thursdays in November and President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving. With the country still recovering from the Great Depression, Roosevelt sought an extended Christmas season for merchants. In both 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt declared the third Thursday as Thanksgiving. However, many states disregarded the change in dates.
In October 1941, Congress passed a joint resolution returning the celebration to the last Thursday in November. However, a compromise in December of that year proclaimed the date for Thanksgiving as the Fourth Thursday of November. President Roosevelt signed the bill, setting the date for Thanksgiving Day as a matter of federal law.