Time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Listen to the correct pronunciation of the words you will use during this celebration and read how and why it all started
Thanksgiving: who celebrates it?
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 exactly in the same way.
Thanksgiving: how it started
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 reached 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. The harvest was not enough for this new community and only half of the pilgrims survived during the 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 to decide where to sow and when.
Thanksgiving: time to thank
In 1621, the harvest was so generous at last to satisfy the needs of the whole 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 too to the celebration.
During the celebration of Thanksgiving, a delicious meal was prepared for all the guests: roasted turkey, corn and pumpkin pies... the same dishes that you can enjoy nowadays during this celebration.
Thanksgiving: the turkey
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 this festivity. Apparently there is not an official reason why turkeys were chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving. The only reasonable motivation looks like this bird was the most available meat at that time, when the Thanksgiving tradition started.