Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving is the oldest regularly celebrated Thanksgiving in America. There was no traditional Thanksgiving in the calendar yet, and this holiday was already celebrated all over the country.
The Schwenkfelders are the descendants of a German Protestant sect that emerged during the Reformation. The sect arose in honor of the theologian Caspar Schwenkfeld. His followers separated from the Protestants and formed a brotherhood that still exists today. Most of the Schwenkfelder followers settled in Pennsylvania.
- The traditional Thanksgiving Day was first celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, but the event did not become popular.
- The status of a national event was granted in 1789 by George Washington, but it was celebrated irregularly.
- In 1863, Lincoln fixed Thanksgiving Day to the last Thursday of the last month of fall.
- In 1939, Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday of the last day of fall, the date has not changed since.
How to take part
If you would like to join the Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving celebration, find the nearest Schwenkfelder church. Read on the Internet how this holiday is traditionally celebrated, and learn more about the culture and history of the sect. You can also visit the Schwenkfelder Heritage Center. Be sure to organize a meal in honor of the non-traditional Thanksgiving – it’s water, bread, two types of butter, and apples. Since butter is a staple on the holiday table, read about its history; you will learn a lot of amazing facts.
When is Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving in 2023?
Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving is observed on September 24 each year.