Thanksgiving Day Fast Facts

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Here's a look at Thanksgiving Day, celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November.

Here's a look at Thanksgiving Day, celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2018, Thanksgiving is on November 22.

Facts:
AAA forecasts 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving in 2018.

According to the USDA, 245 million turkeys were projected to be raised in the United States in 2017.

9.05 million barrels of cranberries were projected to be produced in the United States in 2017.

The president traditionally receives a turkey in a ceremony at the White House a few days before Thanksgiving Day. President Harry S. Truman started the tradition and President George H. W. Bush was the first to pardon the bird and not eat it.

Timeline:
Fall 1621 - The first Thanksgiving is observed in Plymouth. A good harvest leads Massachusetts Governor William Bradford to plan a festival to give thanks. Around 90 Native Americans attend.

1789 - President George Washington issues a proclamation naming November 26 a day of national thanksgiving.

There was no national Thanksgiving Day for several years, but many states had Thanksgiving holidays.

October 3, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.

1939 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt moves Thanksgiving Day one week earlier to boost the Christmas shopping season.

1941 - Congress rules that the fourth Thursday in November will be observed as Thanksgiving Day and a federal legal holiday.

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