Thanksgiving is celebrated each year in America on the 4th Thursday of November. In 2008, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 27th.
Thanksgiving An American Holiday
The Puritans A long time ago in England, there was a group of people who all went to the same church, they were called Puritans. They wanted to live their lives like God wanted them to, so that they could get into heaven. The things that the Puritans did were considered “extreme” by the rest of the members of the Church of England.
King James I The King of England, James the First, thought that everyone should go to his church, the Church of England. He got mad when the pilgrims didn’t want to go to his church, he said, “You go to my church or you go to jail!”
Puritans vs. King James The pilgrims said, “Ok, we’ll go to jail.” But, finally the king realized that the Puritans weren’t going to change their minds, so he said, “You can get out of jail, but you have to leave England.”
The Mayflower So the pilgrims rented a ship and left England for America on September 6, 1620. Their ship was called the “Mayflower.”
Journey to America The trip to America was long and hard. There were storms and the ship was really crowded.
The Pilgrims Arrive in America They arrived in a place called Plymouth, which is in the State of Massachusetts.
The First Winter in America When the Pilgrims got to America, it was winter and there were no food or houses. Many of them died from sickness, starvation and freezing to death.
The Native Americans There were some people who lived in America already. The Pilgrims called them Indians. The Indians saw the Pilgrims suffering and they decided to help them.
Squanto There was one Native American in particular who helped the Pilgrims. His name was Squanto. He spoke English because he had been a slave in England for 8 years. He helped the Pilgrims recover from their first difficult winter by teaching them the best places to catch fish and eel. He helped them to keep peace with the other local Native Americans.
The Indians Help the Pilgrims They showed them how to grow corn and pumpkins, how to build houses out of local trees, and how to survive the cold winter weather of Massachusetts.
The Second Year When it was winter again, the Pilgrims had food and a place to live.
The First Thanksgiving Dinner The Pilgrims were so happy, they said, “We need to have a feast and celebrate. We’ll invite our friends, the Indians.”
Thanksgiving Celebration So they had a great feast that lasted for a whole week, and ate turkey, fish, deer, sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkin. They played games.
How Thanksgiving got its Name But the first thing they did was to say a prayer of Thanksgiving to God for giving them friends, food, houses and a place to live where they could go to any church they wanted.
Thanksgiving in America Today Thanksgiving has been celebrated every year in the USA since 1863, but in 1941, it was made an official national holiday by president Roosevelt. Each year as a holiday tradition, the President of the United States pardons a turkey. President Reagan, 1983.
Traditional Turkey Day Foods Each year, Americans eat typical foods, usually some of the same ones from the first Thanksgiving Dinner. Roasted Turkey Sweet Corn Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Bread Stuffing Pumpkin Pie Cranberry Sauce
Thanksgiving Traditions During Thanksgiving dinner, most families take a moment and say a Thanksgiving prayer or have each person say what they are thankful for that year.
Traveling on Thanksgiving On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner. Because of this, Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. In the United States, Thanksgiving is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation in school and college calendars. This year, it is estimated that 37 million Americans will be traveling on or around Thanksgiving Day.
Football on Thanksgiving Every year on Thanksgiving Day, many professional and university football teams play important games. These games are on TV all day, and most people watch them.
Thanksgiving Parades The most famous Thanksgiving parade takes place in New York City. It is called the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Many American families watch this parade on TV on Thanksgiving morning. They also have parades in other big cities.