When is Thanksgiving? Here's the exact date for 2022

Somehow, it's almost time to break out the pumpkin pie and get to work — not that we're complaining, of course.

Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, which means it's only a matter of time until you're spending your days and nights baking cookies, wrapping gifts, decorating, and doing just about everything else you can think of to make your holidays merry and bright. But before you lean into the cheery chaos, make sure you nail down your Thanksgiving plans — starting with when and where you should celebrate.

You probably know that Thanksgiving is always celebrated on a Thursday, but why Thursday? And why is it always the fourth Thursday of November? It’s not simply an excuse to enjoy a four-day weekend every November, and it’s not because Thursday happens to sound a bit like the word turkey. There is a real, historic reason why this particular day was chosen.

You've got questions, we've got answers. Keep reading to learn when Turkey Day falls in 2022, along with some interesting intel on why the holiday's date changes year to year.

When is Thanksgiving in 2022?

This year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Thursday, November 24, 2022. True to tradition, it falls on the fourth Thursday of November.

Looking ahead, Thanksgiving will fall on Thursday, November 23, 2023, and Thursday, November 28, 2024.

Why does it fall on the fourth Thursday of November?

The date for Thanksgiving changes every year, depending on when that fourth Thursday lands. While we don’t know exactly which day of the week the pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving, it’s traditionally been held in November.

George Washington named Thursday, November 26, 1789 the “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” — and the holiday has been celebrated on a Thursday ever since. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, but a few decades later, Franklin D. Roosevelt switched it to the second to last Thursday in fear that a later holiday would shorten the Christmas shopping season. Eventually, Congress stepped in to end confusion: On December 26, 1941, Roosevelt signed a resolution, naming the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.

What is the history of Thanksgiving?

As you may recall from elementary school, the pilgrims are the ones who first started Thanksgiving. But it has roots beyond the settlers marking this day, with beginnings that reside with Native Americans celebrating the harvest through dancing and rituals. The year commonly associated with Thanksgiving is 1621, although The Washington Post points out that historians believe that a Thanksgiving feast was put on by settlers in the Americas as early as 1565. Other colonists were believed to eat meals and hold services in an act of “Thanksgiving” as well — long before the Plymouth pilgrims celebrated in 1621.

Pilgrims were extremely grateful to finally have a corn harvest, hard-fought after such a long and difficult winter the year before. Governor William Bradford orchestrated the feast and they invited their Native American allies, the local Wampanoag tribe, to be their guests. Many of the dishes are thought to have been Native American recipes, along with various fowl, fish and freshly-harvested vegetables. Rumor has it that they even served beer at the first Thanksgiving.

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving today?

Eventually, the pilgrims’ humble feast became a nationally-celebrated day. In 1917, New York was the first state to adopt Thanksgiving as an official holiday, and it continued to catch on after that. While the holiday certainly has a religious background, and many continue to view Thanksgiving as a religious tradition, it’s largely seen as a day to gather with family and friends to eat foods that are loosely based on the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving meal, with a focus on turkey, stuffing and cranberries.

In addition to feasting, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we’re grateful for. The day centers on family and friends, giving all of us an excuse to spend quality time with loved ones we may not often see the rest of the year due to long distances or scheduling.

It’s important to note that many Native Americans do not celebrate Thanksgiving since it denotes a difficult and oppressive era for several tribes. Instead, Native Americans practice gratitude for their roots and history through holidays such as Native American Heritage Day, which is held the day after Thanksgiving, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrated on October 11 and made official through a 2021 proclamation.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com