Traditionally, Thanksgiving opens in the United States, the pre-Christmas season. This is the busiest day of the year all the Americans are busy with preparations. A special place is given to the festive table, which covered the entire family. Traditionally served stuffed turkey (Thanksgiving Turkey) with cranberry jam (cranberry sauce) and outdoor pumpkin pie (pumpkin pie). During dinner, some families break a turkey wishbone (break the turkey’s wishbone): when the turkey has been eaten, the two men take the two ends of the bone and make a wish, breaking open it and look whose piece of bone more. Wishes come true, the one in the hands of the left most. And a lot of pleasure watching the Americans deliver traditional parades on TV. Every year in New York, a parade (the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), organized by Macy’s department store in 1927, which is broadcast live across the country. The parade involved a platform on wheels (floats) with huge inflatable toys to them. These toys are traditional symbols of Thanksgiving Day, as well as figures of famous television characters. The parade also included songs and presentation of Broadway musicals. Every year passes and the traditional turkey pardoning ceremony («presidential pardon»), which thus avoid the fate of being eaten at a festive dinner. This year, President Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys solemnly (Cobbler and Gobbler).
Still, the main role in this celebration of prayer reserved (Thanksgiving prayer). It Americans traditionally bring words of thanksgiving to God for the mercy of those that He blessed them this year.
The history of Thanksgiving Day (Thanksgiving Day) is widely known. This festival has religious roots: celebrated in the autumn, it is, of course, symbolized in ancient times thanks to the gods for the harvest (harvest). But over time, its religious significance was lost. Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally associated with the first settlers (settlers), in 1620, went on a dangerous journey to the shores of the New World on board, who became famous ship «Mayflower» (the «Mayflower»). Later they founded Plymouth Colony (Plymouth Colony), became one of the first of the thirteen British colonies in North America. These settlers were Protestants, the Puritans, who wanted to separate from the (separate from) the Anglican Church (Church of England). At first, they moved to the Netherlands, but there experiencing unbearable financial difficulties, with the support of the British traders (traders) went to explore the Americas. Fate was not favorable to them, and they landed much farther north than expected. This occurred in what is now Massachusetts (Massachussetts). The first winter in their new homeland has become for many of them the last, and in the spring the survivors founded the colony and began to prepare for next winter. In doing so, they helped the Wampanoag Indian tribe (Wampanoag) Tiskvantum or Skvanto (Tisquantum / Squanto), that is, having the English language has become a mediator between the colonists and the local populations. Skvanto taught the settlers to fertilize the land of fish and dictates which crops could be grown in these conditions, so come autumn Englishmen gathered a rich harvest. This event will serve to strengthen the friendship between the colonists and local Indians, who together celebrated the first Thanksgiving.
We bring you the video, which shows the traditional view regarding the origin of the holiday.
The Story of the First Thanksgiving
Around four hundred years ago many people in England were unhappy because their King would not let them pray to God as they liked. The King said they must use the same prayers that he did and if they refused, they were prosecuted, imprisoned or even killed. These Englishman left their homes and went far off to a country called Holland. In Holland they were happy, but they were very poor and when the children began to grow they became less godlike and did not want to pray anymore. After much talking and thinking these English people decided to embark on a pilgrimage to the New World — America.
They set out on a small ship called the «Mayflower» to take them across the sea. There were about one hundred people on board the tiny ship. It was crowded, cold an uncomfortable. The sea was rough. They were two months sailing over the Atlantic Ocean. At last the «Mayflower» came inside of land. The month was November and it was cold. There was nothing to be seen but snow, rocks and hard bare ground. They were tired and cold from their long journey and hungry too, no one had enough food to eat. Many of them became sick and by springtime almost half of the people died.
In spring the sun shone brightly, the snow melted and leaves and flowers began to emerge. Some friendly Indians had visited the Pilgrims during the winter.
One of the kind Indians was named Squanto. He stayed with the Pilgrims and taught them how to plant their corn, peas, weat and barley. The summer came and the days were long and bright. The Pilgrim children were very happy in their new home Plymouth Rock. When it was autumn the Fathers gathered the barley, wheat and corn that they had planted, and found that it had grown so well that they would have quite enough for a long winter that was coming.
«Let us thank God for it all!» They said. Then they decided to have a grand Thanksgiving party and invite the friendly Indians. They prepared wild ducks and geese and great wild turkeys, there was deer meat, bread and cakes, they had fish and clams from the sea nearby. The friendly Indians all came with their chief. They were dressed in deer skins and some of them had the furry coat of a wild cat hanging on their arms. Their long black hair fell loose on their shoulders and was trimmed with feathers or fox tales. Before they ate, the Pilgrims and the Indians thanked God together for all his goodness. And so the story goes of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Plymouth Colony nearly four hundred years ago. As you sit down with your friends and family this Thanksgiving remember this original tale and give thanks for all of God’s abundant blessings.
Useful words and phrases:
- Embark on, v — start, pitch (for anything).
- Pilgrimage, n — a pilgrimage, a journey, a long journey.
- Set out, v — set to go.
- On board the ship — on board the ship.
- The sea was rough — sea to worry.
- Emerge, v — appear; float; out.
- Corn, n — corn; maize.
- Wheat, n — wheat.
- Pea, n — peas, green peas; pea.
- Barley, n — barley.
- Deer, n — deer (pl deer).
- Clam, n — bivalves.
- Furry, adj — fur; fur-lined.
- Abundant, adj — a rich, rich, abundant.
But there is another point of view — the point of view of the Native Americans, for whom the first Thanksgiving turned the era of slavery and bloody wars. In the following video you will learn about an alternative interpretation of the history of Thanksgiving Day, presented by Susan Bates (Susan Bates).
Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen — once.
The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags.
But as word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boat load. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized land, capturing strong young Natives for slaves and killing the rest. But the Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought.
In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival which is our Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by the English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared «A Day Of Thanksgiving» because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Cheered by their «victory», the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with as many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.
Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of «thanksgiving» to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.
The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a national legal holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.
This story does not have quite the same fuzzy feelings associated with it as the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast. But we need to learn our true history so it will not ever be repeated. Next Thanksgiving, when you gather with your loved ones to Thank your Creator for all your blessings, think about the people who only wanted to live their lives and raise their families. They, also took time out to say «thank you» for all their blessings.
Useful words and phrases:
- Feast, n — a celebration of the triumph; Banquet, feast, dinner party (dinner).
- Bound, v — binding.
- Leave behind, v — leave behind.
- Smallpox, n — pox.
- Wipe out, v — destroy, destroy.
- Peace treaty, n — a peace treaty.
- Zealot, n — fanatical follower; fanatic.
- Public domain, n — public property, public domain.
- Seize, v — grab, grab.
- Capture, v — capture.
- Predawn, adj — dawn, early morning.
- Mercenary, n — a mercenary.
- Club to death, v — strike, beat, beaten to death.
- Huddle, v — the crowd, gather (together), huddle (to each other).
- Longhouse, n — long house (a long, narrow building with a single location in the pastoral cultures).
- Ally, n — ally.
- Heathen, adj — pagan.
- Savage, n — savage.
- Hack off, v — cut off.
- Impale, v — pierced, pierce, or puncture; prick (for anything).
- Frenzy, n — madness, rabies; frenzy.
- Massacre, n — the massacre; massacre, beating.
- Set aside, v — put off by the time interrupt.
- Fuzzy, adj — a vague, foggy, blurry.
- Bless, v — bless; to give a blessing.
And now I would like to present you the poem rather eccentric American writer of the second half of the twentieth century, William Seward Burroughs (William Seward Burroughs), entitled «Prayer of Thanksgiving» («The Thanksgiving Prayer») in the author’s performance. Suffice cynical, it debunks the American dream and breaks stereotypes.
Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts.
Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.
Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.
Thanks for the American dream, to vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through.
Thanks for the KKK. For nigger-killin ‘lawmen, feelin’ their notches.
For decent church-goin ‘women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.
Thanks for «Kill a Queer for Christ» stickers.
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs.
Thanks for a country where nobody’s allowed to mind the own business.
Thanks for a nation of finks.
Yes, thanks for all the memories — all right let’s see your arms!
You always were a headache and you always were a bore.
Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.
- Gut, n — colon; digestive tract.
- Despoil, v — rob, rob; deny (something).
- Modicum, n — a very small amount.
- Herd, n — a herd, a flock (of wild animals such as elephants, antelopes, zebras, seals, whales).
- Rot, v — rot; rot, decay, collapse.
- Bounty, n — a generous gift.
- KKK (Ku-Klux-Klan) — Ku Klux Klan. Secret terrorist racist organizations. Created in 1865 by veterans of the Confederate Army (Confederate Army) in Pulaski, NY. Tennessee, to promote the ideas of white supremacy (white supremacy) and countering the political influence of «carpetbaggers» (carpetbaggers) in the South after the Civil War (Civil War). It contributed to the outbreak of violence against African-Americans, and so was banned in 1869. However, many of its members continue to be active the whole period of Reconstruction (Reconstruction). In the 70-ies. XIX century. We have enacted laws aimed at curbing the activities of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871). Its members dressed in white robes with a hood, trying to convince the victims of mystical fear of the spirit of vengeance, and became a symbol of the KKK burning cross (fiery cross). The organization had a hierarchical structure, and was called the «Invisible Empire of the South» (Invisible Empire of the South); it was led by the great magician (Grand Wizard).
- Decent, adj — decent, honest; decent, modest; discreet.
- Pinched, adj — exhausted.
- Queer, n — the name of the gross homosexual.
- Prohibition, n — «dry law». The ban on the production, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages, except for medical and scientific purposes. For the first time such prohibitions operated in 13 states in 1846-55, but were eliminated by the authorities of the state or declared unconstitutional. At the turn of the century in the United States has developed an influential movement of supporters of sobriety (Temperance Movement). By 1905 the «dry law» acted in Kansas, Maine, Nebraska and North Dakota. By the beginning of the First World War such bans of varying severity has already acted in 26 states. After the US entry into the war there was a real need to save grain stocks, and active lobbying groups such as the anti-alcohol league (Anti-Saloon League), led eventually to the adoption of federal measures to ban the production of alcoholic beverages. In 1917, Congress passed and sent for approval to the project states the Eighteenth Amendment (Eighteenth Amendment) to the US Constitution on the introduction of «dry law». September 8, 1917 in the US was discontinued production of whiskey, and from 1 May 1919 — and beer. On July 1, 1919 has been completely banned the sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States, January 16, 1920 and entered into force on the Eighteenth Amendment. The measures for the amendments to the provisions of life were provided by the federal Volstead Act (Volstead Act). However, it soon became clear that these measures are absolutely not popular, and the application of the law causes serious damage to the economy. The consequence of the adoption of the «dry law» was an unprecedented increase in organized crime related to illicit trade in alcohol (bootlegging), a host of underground bars (speakeasy); budget of the country is seriously affected by uncollected taxes on alcoholic beverages. Under the pressure of public opinion in December 1933 the «dry law» was canceled Twenty-First Amendment (Twenty-first Amendment). In some states long operated its anti-alcohol laws, the latest of which was canceled in 1966.
- Fink, n — informant, informer, agent.
- Betrayal, n — infidelity, betrayal.
Perception of Thanksgiving Day, as we see, is ambiguous. The tradition of celebrating it originated in the heavy and dark times for the American people. And despite the joy and emotional recovery that States are experiencing on this day, in terms of modern Native American Thanksgiving — hypocrisy.