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Thanksgiving

By Aaron Schwartz

Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, of family gatherings and holiday meals. A time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. A time for Indian corn, holiday parades and giant balloons.

In 1620 one of the first British settlements in America was established in Massachusetts. These settlers, known as Pilgrims, had come to America to freely practice their religion. They arrived in November, when it was too late to plant crops. Although many people died, the Pilgrims settlement survived the winter because of help from Indians who lived nearby. The Indians taught the Pilgrims about corn and showed them where to fish. The next November, after the crops were harvested, the pilgrims gave thanks to God at a feast to which they invited the Indians. The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans.

The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

Every year, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November, which is November 27th this year. It marks the unofficial beginning to the winter holiday season.

Families and friends get together for a big feast. The meal usually includes roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, a sweet sauce made from cranberries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. A recent Thanksgiving tradition is to sit after dinner and watch professional football game on TV.

Thanksgiving is very much like Christmas. It is a day for families to get together. Many Americans spend hours driving to see their parents. The roads are crowded for a few day prior Thanksgiving.

In many parts of the world a day is set side to give thanks. The date and customs may vary from country to country but the desire to take time to reflect on life's blessings remains the same.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

Thanksgiving is a day to remember people who are less well off in America throughout the world. It is also a good occasion to thank for everything you have.

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