The series of English VivaLing Podcasts continues with Thanksgiving!
Do you know the origin of this holiday that is so important to Americans? Do you know what it means?
We tell you everything, and more, in this new episode of the English VivaLing Podcast!
And here’s the text to follow while listening to the Podcast:
Welcome to the VivaLing English Podcast.
Thanks-Tha-Tha-Thanksgiving. Thank you very much. I am much obliged. Please let me express my gratitude. Thanks. Ta. As you can see today, we will be talking about the importance of thanks.
One of the typical images we have of the USA is of a family united, sitting round a table on a winter`s day, eating a large meal, listening to “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells. Jingle all the way” and looking out at the snow in the garden.
Christmas? No. Thanksgiving? Yes.
By the way, “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song.
Thanksgiving is a unique North American festival. Let`s not forget the Canadians, but in this podcast, let`s find out why, when, where and how it is celebrated.
But please pay attention. At the end of the podcast, there will be some questions for you. If you get everything right, you will get a prize, and then you can say thank you to me.
Let`s start with some basic facts. Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States of America and Canada. It is not on a fixed date, but it is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada it is celebrated in October.
Americans usually eat roast turkey for Thanksgiving. They eat pumpkin pie for dessert, if they have any left after the Halloween celebrations.
It is considered the start of the holiday season leading up to Christmas and New Year. Families get together, celebrate with a meal and by doing together the activities they enjoy such as going for a nice walk, playing games or just relaxing in front of a good movie.
To understand why Thanksgiving is celebrated, we need to understand the importance of a HARVEST. The harvest is when farmers collect the plants and food they have worked on all year. If the weather has been good, a farmer has a good harvest and his family will have food to eat through the winter. If the weather has been bad and the harvest is disappointing, families do not have enough food in the cold months of winter. People did and still do celebrate harvests across the world, and when the first settlers went to America 400 years ago, they were no different, but something happened which made the first Thanksgiving special.
When the pilgrims from England, who had settled on the coast in 1621, were preparing for their first winter, the Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe helped them to hunt and find food. This allowed the English pilgrims to survive the cold and harsh winter. The Thanksgiving feast was held by the Natives and the new settlers. They ate deer, corn and fish together and played music and ball games. The “thanks” was both to the native Indians and to God who had provided them with the food they needed.
Unfortunately, the Native Americans and the settlers did not remain friends for more than a few years, but the spirit of cooperation and the importance of helping each other is a principle worth celebrating.
What can you do to enter the spirit of Thanksgiving? Think of someone who has helped you this year who you would like to say thank you to. You don`t have to buy them a present. Just surprise them by telling them how much you appreciate what they have done. It could be a teacher. Teachers are always happy when the students say thank you. It could be a friend. It could even be your pet.
Now, let`s see if you have been paying attention with these 5 questions.
1. Is thanksgiving only celebrated in the USA?
No. It`s also celebrated in Canada and Liberia, a small country in Africa.
2. What day of the week is Thanksgiving celebrated on?
It`s always on a Thursday.
3. What country did the first Europeans to celebrate Thanksgiving come from?
4. What word means the food that farmers collect at the end of the summer?
5. How can you celebrate Thanksgiving?
By saying thank you to somebody who has helped you
Did you get all the answers right? If so, your prize is … that your English is even better now, and you can say thank you to me.
But before we finish, think of this.
There is a tradition that the President of the United States of America pardons a turkey every year. This means that he or she chooses a turkey to be saved and not killed, roasted and eaten. These turkeys then can live on a nice farm for the rest of their natural lives. I’m sure that they say thank you to the President.
In 2018, President Trump pardoned 2 turkeys, but what were their names: “peas and carrots,” “fish and chips” or “ice and cream?” Think carefully. The correct answer is “peas and carrots.”
Thank you for listening today, and I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving.