Lisa's week: What are you thankful for?
It’s Thanksgiving in the US this week, which is kind of a big deal if you’re American. Even though it probably originated in the European harvest festival culture, it has a wider significance and has developed into quite a different type of celebration over the years.
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and has been a national holiday since 1863 as declared by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. It has become part of the broader “holidays” in the US which is the period from Thanksgiving right through to Christmas Day.
The “First Thanksgiving” is considered to have been in 1621 and celebrated by the original Pilgrims who had travelled to America on the Mayflower. They wanted to celebrate their first harvest and the feast was attended by 50 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans including Squanto, a member of the local Pawtuxet tribe.
On arrival in the New World, the 102 original pilgrims landed on the east coast and started to establish a village at Plymouth. During the first hard winter, many of the pilgrims died and were ill equipped to establish a life in New England, with only half of them still alive when spring arrived. When they moved ashore in March, they were introduced to Squanto who spoke English and translated for them. He helped them understand the new land and taught them to catch fish, plant local crops and understand which of the indigenous plants were poisonous. It is said that none of the Pilgrims would have lived to see that first harvest without his help.
In keeping with that first dinner, traditional food is served today such as turkey, cranberry sauce, autumn vegetables, corn, sweet potatoes and pumpkin or pecan pie, and it’s very much a family and friends focussed holiday. It is a time to count one’s blessings and to consider all the things in life one is thankful for as well as looking back in time to those first Pilgrims who made the perilous journey across the ocean to found a new society.
In many cities across the country, either on Thanksgiving itself or the following day, there is also a tradition of having a Thanksgiving Parade, the most famous of which is the Macy’s parade, which is held each year in Manhattan and attended by up to 3 million people as well as being broadcast on TV. The next day is known as Black Friday, which is all about the shopping. It’s said to be the busiest shopping day of the year with sales galore and bargains to be had on every corner.
The Thanksgiving celebrations really kick off the Christmas holiday season and start the countdown to the big day itself.
So, what will you be thankful for this week?
What is Lisa's week?
"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"
Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday
Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?
Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?
Episode 4: The sound of London
Episode 5: Not just a last resort
Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise
Episode 7: Title talk
Episode 8: The Union Jack
Episode 9: Why Thursday?
Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?
Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!
Episode 13: Up in the Highlands
Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends
Episode 15: Pie in the sky
Episode 16: Through the tunnel
Episode 17: Keep left!
Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise
Episode 19: How do you say that?
Episode 20: Back to School!
Episode 21: Sweet cravings
Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?
Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"
Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)
Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?
Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.
Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!
Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot
Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?
Episode 30: Bless you!