Thanksgiving: 6 facts to know about how the modern-day holiday came to be

Thanksgiving moved a week earlier in 1939

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt |

In 1939, amid the Great Depression and the start of World War II in Europe, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to earlier in November.

While frequently celebrated on the last Thursday of November up to that time, Roosevelt opted to put the federal observance to the second to last Thursday, hoping to make this the annual date.

Although Roosevelt justified his actions as way to help provide more shopping days before Christmas, his decision was met with much backlash, even among business owners.

"By that fall, 22 states had decided to play along with the change in their official calendars, 23 were sticking with tradition and Mississippi hadn't decided," reports TIME magazine.

"The President stuck with the change the following year, declaring Nov. 21 to be the official Thanksgiving Day for 1940. The following year, however, TIME's headline on the topic was 'President Admits Mistake.'"

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