Thanksgiving is on the 24th of November! Family and friends will meet thought the US and the party promises to be fun with pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes on the menu. Everyone will be happy (except the turkeys of course) such as Louis and Victoire Burgundy who are already choosing their outfits. But why do we celebrate this day? Marie and Carl, who had planned the question, decided to investigate.
That’s the literal translation of "thanksgiving" and indeed, it’s the time to thank God for his blessings, for all he’s given us and all we have achieved throughout the year. The three days of thanksgiving are a celebration that originates from the first moments of US history. Or, more precisely, when the English Dissenters first set foot on land in the mysterious New World – a place full of promise but teeming with a thousand dangers.
Back to the Mayflower
The Mayflower was the first ship to make shore in 1620. The “Pilgrim Fathers” were religious dissidents who had set sail in search of the “new Jerusalem”. Upon arrival, the settlers anchored in Plymouth Sound where they made their base. Famine raged and many of them succumbed. One man came to their aid; Squanto, a Wampanoag Indian, taught them to hunt, fish, and, more importantly, how to grow maize. The little colony was saved and the following year they organised a banquet to celebrate the harvest. They gave thanks to God for the divine manna and for the Indians, who contributed to their success. According to legend, the Wampanoag were invited to share the banquet which is said to have lasted for three days. Turkeys, corn, sweet potato and pumpkin were devoured with gusto ... at least, that’s what they say.
Today, just like then, we pull out all the stops for the three-day celebration. Thanksgiving officially became a national holiday in 1789 and its final date, the fourth Thursday of November, was chosen by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
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