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Monday, July 15, 2024

Thanksgiving 2023 – Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?


Thanksgiving 2023 is just round the corner. As the Halloween season rolls out on October 31, many eagerly anticipate December’s jovial holiday period – a sentiment encapsulated by Mariah Carey. However, nestled between these two periods’ lies another celebration – Thanksgiving. Known for its traditional football games, sumptuous feasts, family and friends gatherings, and the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it holds a special place. Although the precise origins of this holiday differ from the narratives in children’s books or high school curricula, the day is widely observed as an occasion to show gratitude and enjoy loved ones’ company.

Mark Your Calendar for Thanksgiving 2023

This year’s Thanksgiving plots on Thursday, November 23, 2023.

The Day of Thanksgiving

The observance is always on the third Thursday of November each year.

The Reasons behind Thanksgiving Celebrations

The official recognition of Thanksgiving as a national holiday came in 1863, though the narrative of the “first celebration” traces back to 1621, as per the History Channel. Traditional stories, usually told from the white pilgrims’ viewpoint, suggest that the colonists shared a meal with the Native Wampanoag people to express gratitude for a bountiful autumn harvest.

However, these conventional narratives aren’t entirely faithful, as reported by Eryn Dion, a USA TODAY journalist. The Wampanoag members were not formally invited; instead, hearing gunshots from the pilgrims’ festive gathering, they went to investigate, ready for potential conflict. Upon discovering a feast in progress, they joined the celebration.

Moreover, it was President Abraham Lincoln who officially declared the final Thursday of November as “Thanksgiving,” according to the History Channel. This practice continued until 1939 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt shifted the holiday one week earlier to boost retail sales during the Great Depression. This tradition of shopping spree during and post-Thanksgiving still thrives today.

Which Shops Stay Open on Thanksgiving?

There are several retail and grocery outlets that stay operational on Thanksgiving Day, providing a lifesaver for last-minute need of ingredients, or dealing with unexpected home emergencies. The following list unveils the names of such stores that will be open on Thanksgiving Day in 2023, although their operating hours might differ based on the local branch:

  • CVS
  • Albertson’s
  • Kroger
  • ACME
  • Ralphs
  • Albertsons
  • Jewel-Osco
  • Safeway
  • Stop & Shop
  • Meijer
  • Vons
  • Shaw’s
  • Tom Thumb
  • Walgreens
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Rite Aid
  • Dollar General
  • Wawa

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November?

Thanksgiving invariably falls on the 4th Thursday of November every year. This particular holiday is unique to the American culture, designed around fostering unity among people. It also heralds the onset of the festive Christmas season, provides an excuse for indulging in a food spree, and encourages engaging in civil political discourses, an idea promoted by Governor Spencer Cox.

When is Thanksgiving celebrated again?

To reaffirm, Thanksgiving Day is set on the fourth Thursday of November every year, which falls on the 23rd in this year’s calendar.

The rationale behind choosing the 4th Thursday of November for Thanksgiving?

The narrative behind Thanksgiving is now widely known; however, this was not always the case. The credit for popularizing the Thanksgiving story goes to Sarah Josepha Hale, an author from the 18th century.

Sarah Hale, who reportedly owned William Bradford’s diary that recounts one of the few first-hand accounts of the original Thanksgiving, was deeply touched by the narrative. As a result, she spent a significant amount of time advocating for the celebration of Thanksgiving through her editorials in Godey’s Magazine, according to History. She also reached out to five U.S. presidents regarding this cause.

It was only in 1863, during the Civil War, that her plea was finally heeded. President Abraham Lincoln, seeking to bring unity to a divided nation, proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be observed on the last Thursday of November. The National Women’s History Museum credits Hale’s letter to Lincoln as a significant influence on this decision.

Fast forward to 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a second proclamation, pushing Thanksgiving to the penultimate Thursday in November amidst the Depression. Roosevelt was concerned about the economic impact of a shortened Christmas shopping season. In response, 32 states celebrated Thanksgiving on the date set by Roosevelt, while 16 retained the traditional date. This division continued for two years until Congress officially established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, according to the National Archives.


As we gather in the warmth of family and friends, let’s reflect on the essence of Thanksgiving 2023. This cherished tradition transcends time, inviting us to pause and express gratitude for the moments that shape our lives. We have also provide Thanksgiving Recipes in our other article. In a world that often moves swiftly, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder to appreciate the simple joys, the bonds that tie us together, and the blessings that grace our journey. As we celebrate this year, let the spirit of gratitude illuminate our hearts and inspire acts of kindness, fostering a sense of unity and connection that extends far beyond the holiday table. Here’s to the timeless tradition of giving thanks and the enduring power it holds in bringing people closer and creating lasting memories.

Aiman Aamir
Aiman Aamir
Aiman Aamir has written for a variety of publications, including some of the known magazines. Her work has been praised for its engaging and informative content, as well as its unique perspective on the world of fashion, lifestyle, marketing and innovation. Whether she is writing about the latest runway shows, models, travel destinations or latest digital trends, Aiman always delivers insightful and well-researched articles that resonate with her audience.


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