Americans and Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving: listen to the correct pronunciation of the words you will hear during this celebration and read why Thanksgiving celebration started
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated every year in the United States and Canada. While in the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, in Canada it is observed on the second Monday of October.
Despite the different dates, both countries celebrate Thanksgiving Day exactly in the same way. It all began with the Pilgrim Fathers, the early settlers, who left England to reach the New World. In 1620, 102 courageous pilgrims boarded the famous boat, the Mayflower, and reach land after two months of hard navigation, during which so many of them died.
Once arrived in the new continent, the early settlers planted with great care the seeds they had brought with them, but the winter was severe and allowed only a very poor harvest. Not enough for everyone and only half of the pilgrims survive their first year. The harvest would have been unsuccessful also the following year if the Native Americans had not helped the newcomers: they helped the pilgrims to select the best land and decide what to sow and when.
In 1621, the harvest was so generous at last to satisfy the needs of the new community. William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth, in Massachusetts (the new colony founded by the Pilgrims), ordered a gathering to celebrate and thank God for his blessings... luckily, the Native Americans, the real benefactors, were invited to the celebration.
King of the table is still the large roasted turkey, with different kind of stuffing. Stuffed or not, it looks like 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and about 280 million turkeys are sold for the festivity. Apparently there is not an official reason why turkeys were chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving. The only reasonable motivation looks like it was the most available meat at that time, when Thanksgiving tradition started.