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President's Page by Jennifer Lorenz

President George Washington is originally responsible for proclaiming Thanksgiving as a holiday. On November 26, 1789, President Washington declared a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer.”

We credit President Lincoln for actually declaring Thanksgiving a federal holiday. In 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln called a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

To boost the economy and lengthen the holiday shopping season during the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving on the third Thursday in November. This move was controversial and some states continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of the month. Thankfully, Congress acted in 1941 passing a joint resolution that officially established the current day of Thanksgiving.

The President of the United States is gifted with the honor of pardoning certain lucky turkeys every year. This well-known tradition is rather new, but its roots are quite old. The Turkey Pardon originally started in 1865 when President Lincoln pardoned a Christmas turkey his young son had befriended. George H.W. Bush was the first President to issue an “official pardon” sparing an innocent turkey’s promising life during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden in 1989.

Many states have unique laws that indirectly impact Thanksgiving dinners. States like Alabama allow you to purchase beer and wine, but not spirits, on Thanksgiving.

If you live in Pennsylvania, while preparing for your Thanksgiving guests to arrive, don’t get caught sweeping dirt and dust under your rug because it’s illegal. In New York City, it is illegal to shake a dust mop out of a window.

Don’t invite a moose to Thanksgiving dinner in Fairbanks, Alaska, because it is illegal to feed any alcoholic beverage to a moose.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving in city of Gary, Indiana, make sure to brush your teeth after enjoying your dinner because it is illegal to go to a movie theater or ride in a public streetcar if you have eaten garlic in the past four hours.

Finally, if you were planning on hosting Thanksgiving dinner, or any other event at a cemetery, think twice in Claremont, New Hampshire, because it is illegal to get drunk or to picnic in a cemetery.

Clearly these are important laws everyone should know. 


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