The Thanksgiving holiday originated with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony who celebrated the harvest of 1621 with a multi-day feast. Despite its early beginnings, Thanksgiving became a Federal holiday only in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day. In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be observed on the second to last Thursday of the month. That year November had five Thursdays. Since Thanksgiving signaled the start of the holiday shopping season, Roosevelt wanted to give the economy a boost by providing an extra week of shopping. Not everyone agreed with this decision and in 1941 Congress passed a bill designating Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11th, the date on which the Armistice ending World War I was signed. In fact, this holiday was known as “Armistice Day.” The name was changed after World War II as the holiday’s focus was expanded to honor veterans of all conflicts. Veterans Day is typically marked by solemn ceremonies of remembrance and parades.
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Columbus Day, observed annually on the second Monday of October, commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. In New England, the long weekend is a traditional time to get out and see the fall foliage and enjoy the mild weather while it lasts!
Sukkot, also known as the “Feast of the Tabernacles” is a week-long celebration that follows the solemn holiday of Yom Kippur. Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Because Sukkot is also associated with the fall harvest, it is also known as the “Festival of Ingathering.” This year, Sukkot begins on October 8th and lasts until October 15th. Learn more about Sukkot on our page of links.
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, begins on October 3rd and ends at nightfall on October 4th. Yom Kippur is considered the most sacred holiday on the Jewish calendar and is observed by fasting, prayer and repentance. Learn more about this important observance on our page of links.