What Happened When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Moved Thanksgiving

For two years, confused states celebrated on two separate days.

ByABC News
November 27, 2014, 11:45 AM

— -- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt confused plenty of people in 1939 when he issued a presidential proclamation moving Thanksgiving back a week.

For the past 76 years, since Abraham Lincoln's original proclamation, Thanksgiving had fallen on the last Thursday in November. With five Thursdays in 1939, that meant Thanksgiving would be celebrated on Nov. 30.

Even before the term "Black Friday" was coined, Roosevelt was worried about the impact a late Thanksgiving would have on retail sales in an economy already ravaged by the Great Depression. So he issued a presidential proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday in November.

The change didn't fly with everyone. Sixteen states refused to move Thanksgiving, meaning the holiday was celebrated on two separate days in the United States for two years.

Congress decided to fix the tumultuous turkey time once and for all in 1941 by agreeing that the fourth Thursday in November would be Thanksgiving. Roosevelt agreed and signed the resolution on Dec. 26, 1941 -- finally restoring order at the Thanksgiving table.