Daily Archives: November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving: One Day’s Journey to Becoming a Federal Holiday

We know that the tradition of Thanksgiving has been celebrated since colonial days. But do you know how it became a Federal Holiday?
The first post-nationhood  proclamation on record was made by George Washington on October 3, 1789. This marked the first time that Thanksgiving was officially recognized by the U.S. Government.
After that, Thanksgiving was proclaimed by presidents sporadically until Abraham Lincoln took office; since then it has been an annual affair. Lincoln proclaimed it in 1861, and after that the holiday was observed annually on the final Thursday in November.
In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt, proclaimed Thanksgiving a week earlier, in an effort to kick start the holiday shopping season and give the country, which was in the midst of the Great Depression, an economic a boost.

Some states disagreed with this decision and decided to stick with celebrating Thanksgiving on the final Thursday, Nov. 30; while others observed the Nov. 23 celebration, which became  known colloquially as “Franksgiving.” 

To end any confusion caused by Thanksgiving presidential proclaimations, Congress passed a joint resolution on October 6, 1941, that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November. Roosevelt signed the bill into law on December 25, 1941, thereby making Thanksgiving a matter of federal law.

You can learn more about Thanksgiving Day’s political journey from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the Library of Congress Thanksgiving Timeline.






If You Like Cranberry Sauce, Thank a Lawyer

This post if from the Cleveland-Marshshall College of Law Library blog.  Hat tip to Tom Hurray for some interesting Thanksgiving trivia.  Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Did you know that cranberry sauce was invented by a lawyer? In 1912, Marcus Urann, a cranberry grower and lawyer, developed a recipe for jellied cranberry sauce that could be preserved in tin cans. He did so because he did not like to see all the extra cranberries go to waste after the holiday season was over. He later coined the phrase “ocean spray”, and co-founded the company of the same name. Since he was also such an expert promoter and producer, he was dubbed the “Cranberry King”. Click here to read a short history of Ocean Spray, from the Encyclopedia of Consumer brands.  As you enjoy your cranberry sauce out of a can this Thanksgiving, or as you drink a refreshing cranberry juice cocktail, be thankful to a lawyer for making such a lasting contribution to the Thanksgiving holiday.