Schwenkfelder Day
September 24, 2022

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Schwenkfelder Day is one of the oldest Thanksgiving celebrations to have been continually observed in the United States.

The Thanksgiving celebrations in November did not come about till the Civil War. The first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by George Washington in 1789.

The Pilgrims, too, did not celebrate Thanksgiving every year. Sometimes, they would choose to fast. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. This was again changed by Franklin D Roosevelt to the fourth Thursday in November in 1939. However, Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving has always been celebrated on September 24 in the area of Pennsylvania Dutch region.

When they arrived in the US, this small group settled mostly in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country of the US. They swore their allegiance to the British king and spent their Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving Day giving thanks to God for saving them from persecution.

Where is Schwenkfelder Day celebrated?  

Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving is celebrated in the Pennsylvania Dutch country of the US, where the Schwenkfelder community lives.

Who is Schwenkfelder Day celebrated by?

This day is celebrated by the Schwenkfelders in September. They are the followers of a theologian Caspar Schwenkfeld who started this sect in the Protestant circles in Germany during the Reformation movement. To escape religious persecution in Europe they migrated to the US.

When did Schwenkfelder Day first start?

 The first Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving was held on September 22, 1734.

Who started Schwenkfelder Day?

 The Schwenkfelders that first came to America gave started this day to give thanks to God that they had arrived safely and escaped persecution.

Although traditional foods are eaten, other items have been added to the meal.

History And Timeline

The Schwenkfelder churches currently have about 3000 members that still celebrate Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving in the Pennsylvania Dutch region. The celebrations include a service at one of the Schwenkfelder churches, where a religious and historical address is made. This is followed by a meal. To know how Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving came about, we have to know a little about Schwenkfelder's history. Here's a brief timeline to help you.


Founder Of The Schwenckfelds Was Born

Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig, the founder of this group, was born in Poland.


The Group Named Themselves

The Schwenkfelders come to be known as the Confessors of the Glory of Christ


The Schwenkfelders Were Persecuted

The group is jailed by the government, fined, and forced into slavery across Europe. The Orthodox Churches in Europe also take part in these persecutions.


The Schwenkfelders Arrive In The US

A small group of Schwenkfelders arrives in Philadelphia. The following year another group arrived from Germany.


Schwenkfelder Church Was Formed In America

This Church is formed in Pennsylvania, USA.

Traditions And Customs

 Partaking in a meal that includes foods that were eaten at the original celebration, such as butter, bread, water, and apple butter, is a custom or tradition of Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving. However, now a lot more items such as squash and turkey have been incorporated into the meal.

Ways To Observe Or Celebrate Schwenkfelder Day

 You can learn more about the Schwekfelders at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center or by visiting the Society of the Descendants of the Schwenkfelder Exiles website.

You can visit a Schwenkfelder Church for their thanksgiving service and see how this day is celebrated.

Facts And Stats

  • Schwenkfelder Day is recognized by the Pennsylvania State Senate. A Resolution commemorating this day was introduced and adopted on September 19, 2017.
  • Schwenkfelder Day is 287 years old as it has been observed and celebrated every year since it first began in 1734
  • The foods that were eaten as part of the first Schwenkfelder Day meal, such as apple butter, bread, and water, are still consumed as part of the Thanksgiving feast.

FAQs About Schwenkfelder Day

Where Did The Schwenkfelders Come From?
What Are Some Important Things We Need To Keep In Mind While Celebrating Schwenkfelder Day?
What Are Some Advantages Of Celebrating Schwenkfelder Day?

When Is This Day Celebrated


September 24, 2020


September 24, 2021


September 24, 2022


September 24, 2023


September 24, 2024


Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of great content about events happening every day around the world! If you liked our suggestions for Schwenkfelder Day then why not take a look at Human Rights Day, or National Root Canal Appreciation Day.

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