THE HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is an important celebration in the United States, in which families and friends cook and share a great meal. Turkey is the star of the menu, and other typical dishes are mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common activity at Thanksgiving, and people organize free meals for homeless and other people without means. Parades are also typical this day.
But do you know the origin of this tradition?
In 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers (commonly known as the Pilgrims). They were looking for prosperity and lands in America.
Some months later, after a difficult long journey, the Mayflower arrived at Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims established a new village. It was winter, and most of the colonists were ill and very weak after the journey. Only half of them survived until spring.
In March they were visited by some Native Indians who could speak English. One of them had been kidnapped by an English captain who sold him into slavery before he was able to escape. They taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, how to fish and how to survive getting food from their environment.
In November next year, the Pilgrims’ first harvest was ready, and they organized a meal to celebrate it. They invited a group of Native American Indians, and had the first Thanksgiving.
Pilgrims celebrated their second Thanksgiving in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought. After that, days of Thanksgiving became common in the colonies and they had one or several days of thanksgiving every year to express their gratitude for the end of difficult periods of time.
In 1863 Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed an annual Thanksgiving national holiday, thanks to the writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who had been asking for it since years ago. Now, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
- What do people usually eat at Thanksgiving Day?
- Who were the Pilgrims?
- What is the Mayflower?
- Why did Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving?
- When do American people celebrate Thanksgiving nowadays?