Do you ever think about the law when sitting down to the Thanksgiving meal each year? Me either, but if you want to wow your friends and family over the Zoom meal here are some cool Thanksgiving-related legal facts you can share.
· On October 6, 1941, the U.S. House passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November the legal Thanksgiving Day. The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays. It was not signed into law by President Roosevelt until December, so the first official modern Thanksgiving was 1942.
· Abraham Lincoln started the tradition of giving freedom to a turkey, but it would be almost 100 years before another president, President Kennedy, offered a turkey clemency. While every president has since spared a lucky turkey, it wasn’t until 1989 and the presidency of George H.W. Bush that turkey pardons actually became an official thing.
· You are in the clear in South Carolina when it comes to cleaning your house before Thanksgiving guests arrive, but be careful how you clean in some states. Even before COVID-19, it was against the law to sweep dirt and dust under a rug in Pennsylvania or shake a dust mop out of a window in New York.
· You can thank or blame a lawyer for canned cranberry sauce. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Marcus L. Urann was an attorney turned cranberry farmer who decided to start canning his crops in order to extend their shelf life.
· Legal issues can arise whenever you mix a large event with unpredictable weather, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is no exception. In 1997, a runaway Cat in the Hat balloon smashed into a light post which then toppled onto a New York woman who then succumbed to a 30-day coma due to head trauma. The woman settled out of court just before trial in 2001.
Now go and enjoy your day, and keep your eyes open for rogue balloons.