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Thanksgiving presentation

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  1. 1. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” ~John F. Kennedy
  2. 2.  In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean. One month later, the Mayflower crossed into Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.  Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first spring in the New World. In March, the remaining settlers, received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian, Squanto, who greeted them in English.
  3. 3.  Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants.  He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the only examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
  4. 4.  In November 1621, a celebratory feast was organized and the pilgrims invited a group of Native American, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”— although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used this phrase at the time—the festival lasted for three days.  Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply was very low by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which are features of contemporary Thanksgiving
  5. 5.  Several people wanted to have an official day of thanksgiving, including George Washington, who proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. Several people did not want it including President Thomas Jefferson.  Thomas Jefferson thought the concept of Thanksgiving was "the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard."
  6. 6.  Every President since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day. But in 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season. This originally upset many people.
  7. 7.  The North American holiday season (generally the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.) traditionally begins when Thanksgiving ends, on "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving); this tradition has held forth since at least the 1930s.
  8. 8.  Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast.  In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.  There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.
  9. 9.  1) Why do you think the Pilgrims left England to come live in America?  2) The friendship formed between the Wampanoag and the Colonists remains one of the only instances of a good relationship between the two groups. Why might the Indians have felt threatened by the colonists?  3) What is “Black Friday”? Why might some Americans want to avoid going to the stores on this day? Also, why might some Americans want to begin their shopping this day?  4) Which president proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the third Thursday of every November?  5) How many days did the first thanksgiving last?