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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Food & History: Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is an important public hohliday in the US on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a holiday when all the members of a family eat a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing. Cranberry sauce, yams, corn bread, other types of cooked vegetables, and pumpkin pie. Although Thanksgiving is on a Thursday most schools and offices are closed on the following day, so that people have a long weekend.
Many people watch television on Thanksgiving Day, and there is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, which is shown on television across the country. The most popular thing to watch on Thanksgiving Day, however, is football. Most large department stores are open on the Friday after Thanksgiving and have a big sale (= a time when goods are sold at lower prices than usual). It is also the day when most stores start decorating their buildings for Christmas. Most people in the US consider the day after Thanksgiving to be the beginning of the Christmas holiday season.

* The story of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving celebrates the time when settlers who came to North America from England were saved by Native Americans. Many of the settlers died of hunger during the first winter in the new land. The Native Americans showed them how to grow corn and other crops, so that they had enough food to eat during the next winter. The settlers and Native Americans celebrated together with a special meal, and gave their thanks to God for the food and help.
Children at school sometimes perform this story as a play, wear special clothes to look like settlers, and have a parade or draw pictures of things related to Thanksgiving such as turkeys, pumpkins, corn, Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Pumpkin pie is a traditional North American sweet dessert, eaten during the fall (= autumn) and early winter especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time and featured also at Halloween. The pie is generally flavoured with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
Many companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie flavoured products such as ice cream, coffee, cheesecake, pancakes and beer. Several breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale. All over the United States, it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

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