What do you do on the fourth Thursday of November? Most people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a national holiday. On this day, most people do not go to work. They travel by plane, train, bus, or car to be together with family and friends. They gather to give thanks and share in great food and fun.
Thanksgiving morning is a fun time for children. Many large cities throughout the United States host wonderful parades. New York City’s “Macy’s Day Parade” is one of the best known. Turn on your television Thanksgiving morning, and you can see a parade on almost every station!
In the afternoon, families gather for a special holiday dinner. They feast on the traditional meal of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries. Save room for dessert! The pumpkin pie is delicious. After dinner families relax and talk. Many people watch football games on TV.
Thanksgiving began over 350 years ago. On December 11, 1620, one hundred Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. They sailed from England on a boat called the Mayflower. Many came for religious freedom. All came for new lives.
The first winter the Pilgrims were hungry, sick, and very cold. Many did not survive. Forty six of the original 102 people died. Native people helped the struggling Pilgrims. They taught the Pilgrims to plant corn and build houses. They taught the Pilgrims about the land’s plants and animals. Without the help of Native people, all the Pilgrims may have died that first year.
In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gave thanks for their new land and large harvest. They also gave thanks for the help of the Native people. The first Thanksgiving holiday lasted for three days. No one knows if turkey was served. We do know the Pilgrims and Native people feasted on venison and fish. They also had boiled pumpkin, berries, plums, and fried bread made from corn.
Today, Thanksgiving is more than giving thanks and sharing a tasty meal. It is also the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The biggest shopping day of the year happens the day after Thanksgiving. Many stores open their doors to shoppers at 6:00 a.m. These early birds find many special savings!