Thanksgiving Day: "A Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer"


The first Thanksgiving Day celebrated under the new Constitution took place on November 26, 1789, the first year of George Washington's presidency. President Washington issued this proclamation recognizing November 26 as "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer." John Adams and James Madison also issued proclamations calling on Americans to observe certain days with fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving, but after Madison no President of the United States issued a proclamation for Thanksgiving until Abraham Lincoln.

On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln made the traditional Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday. Since this proclamation, each of his successors as president has issued a Thanksgiving proclamation every year, appointing the day first specifically set by Lincoln--the "last Thursday in November."


Proclamation 1753--Thanksgiving Day, 1925

October 26, 1925

By the President of the United States of America


The season approaches when, in accordance with a long established and respected custom, a day is set apart to give thanks to Almighty God for the manifold blessings which His gracious and benevolent providence has bestowed upon us as a nation and as individuals.

We have been brought with safety and honor through another year, and, through the generosity of nature, He has blessed us with resources whose potentiality in wealth is almost incalculable; we are at peace at home and abroad; the public health is good; we have been undisturbed by pestilences or great catastrophes; our harvests and our industries have been rich in productivity; our commerce spreads over the whole world, and Labor has been well rewarded for its remunerative service.

As we have grown and prospered in material things, so also should we progress in moral and spiritual things. We are a God-fearing people who should set ourselves against evil and strive for righteousness in living and observing the Golden Rule we should from our abundance help and serve those less fortunately placed. We should bow in gratitude to God for His many favors.

Now, Therefore, I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, do hereby set apart Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next as a day of general thanksgiving and prayer, and I recommend that on that day the people should cease from their daily work, and in their homes or in their accustomed places of worship, devoutly give thanks to the Almighty for the many and great blessings they have received, and to seek guidance that they may deserve a continuance of His favor.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Sates to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington this 26th day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fiftieth..



Please note: President Calvin Coolidge reveals to all of us of the true meaning and purpose of the Day of Thanksgiving. It is not and was not a day of relaxation, of eating, of sports. It was and still is a day of prayer, worship, thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty God for His abundant blessings to all of us and to our beloved country.

We must not marginalize all the religious and spiritual holidays of our American Christian tradition. Thanksgiving is not "Turkey" day. A day dedicated to gluttony and pleasure. It is, however, a day dedicated to thanking the Almighty God, our Creator, for His unconditional love.


With love in Christ,

+Father George