How It Became A National Holiday
In 1789, President George Washington declared the first National Thanksgiving Day, but people didn't
exactly grasp the idea. Thanksgiving became a regionally celebrated holiday, and the day it was to be
celebrated was chosen by the governor of each state. That is, until Sarah Josepha Hale changed things
Sarah Josepha Hale was the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. She upheld family values and
was a strong promoter of patriotism. She wanted to establish a day that would express strong family
values, when families would get together and give thanks to our Creator for what they had.
Sarah began in 1827 to continually publish her opinions about establishing this holiday in
Godey's Lady's Book, and finally, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln established the
last Thursday in November as the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
Thanks to Sarah and her Thanksgiving holiday quest, she invented a Victorian style meal for
a holiday that upheld strong Victorian family values; we celebrate with traditional turkey and all
the trimmings. Without Sarah, Americans may not celebrate Thanksgiving today, or at least not as
festively. Our customs may have changed a little, but the idea is still the same - get together
and be thankful!
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