Are you getting ready for Turkey Day? I came across something interesting in The History Channel Magazine about Thanksgiving. Here is a synopsis.

Since Abe Lincoln’s time, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the last Thursday of November. Yet in 1939, this meant that Thanksgiving would be on Nov. 30, the last day of the month. Wanting to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, then-President Franklin Roosevelt decided to move the holiday up one week earlier. This extended the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and gave a boost to the shaky economy that was still recovering from the Great Depression.

Well, all turkey feathers broke loose. Calendar makers complained that the president had rendered their product to be incorrect. Coaches and sports fans complained that now the “big game” (probably the Turkey Bowl) would be on the wrong day. One citizen suggested the president should “have Sunday changed to Wednesday,” and “require everyone to take Friday and Saturday off for a fishing trip.”

There was some support, however. An office supply company in Texas that had distributed a misprint of Thanksgiving on Nov. 23 thanked the president for making their calendars correct. Some people were delighted that their birthday would fall on Thanksgiving. Can you imagine having stuffed turkey and birthday cake? Ugh!

The moving of the holiday divided the country. 23 states decided to celebrate on the original date, while 23 others went along with Roosevelt’s change. Texas and Colorado couldn’t make up their minds, so they celebrated both dates. Double the leftovers!

The next year, Roosevelt admitted that it was a bad call. Congress stepped in and passed a law fixing Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November. This ensured that Thanksgiving would not fall on the last day of the month, and Roosevelt even signed the bill. Perhaps he used a turkey feather pen!

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): “For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.” – Bob Wells

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, College of Science and Mathematics, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649, or e-mail jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. For Curiosity Corner background, go to curiosity-corner.net.