“Holiday Season” lights up the months between November to January in the United States. While this season is important for people all over the world, it is especially important for Americans because of the many different holidays celebrated, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, just to name a few. One of the most popular holidays in this season is Thanksgiving, which is just around the corner.
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the last Thursday of November, so this year on November 27th. Many families celebrate this day with their own quirky traditions, but most always try to maintain some of the essential Thanksgiving traditional aspects. If this is your first Thanksgiving in the United States, it’s time for us to “talk turkey” and give you some details about how it all started and what to expect!
Though the history of Thanksgiving is often debated, this holiday can be traced back to a celebratory feast that the Pilgrims shared with Native Americans shortly after their arrival to the New England area of this country. As you may not know, these Pilgrims that contributed greatly to the beginning of what is now the United States of America, were in fact immigrants that brought some of their traditions and adapted them to their new home. Both the Pilgrims and Native Americans held similar celebrations giving thanks for a good harvest and good luck combined with feasts of their crops and religious services.
Many of these traditions are still practiced in this country, however nowadays, Thanksgiving has strong connections to football, family, and shopping for holiday gifts. One of the traditions that has survived many generations stems from the original Thanksgiving celebration, which to many is the most important part, is giving thanks. At any Thanksgiving feast, Americans will share what they are thankful for with their family and friends. People often give thanks for family, new jobs, to God, for good health and many other things that they are grateful for.
The Thanksgiving Feast is one of the tastiest parts of this foodie holiday. Traditionally people eat food native to the Americas like turkey, cranberry, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and stuffing — but the menu can vary based on the household. Most families get together and have their feast at one family member’s house, and generally eat so much that they need a short nap afterward!
The Thanksgiving feast is often followed by watching a good ol’ fashioned game of American football. American football is a very popular sport here in the U.S. and Thanksgiving is one of the most popular days to watch it. College and professional teams alike strap on their pads and ready themselves for action. At most households in the U.S., you will find groups of people huddled around the TV to watch their beloved teams go to battle. Though the sport does not have roots to the original holiday, it has become an integral part of the many Thanksgiving traditions.
You may be here first and foremost to hone in on your English skills, but celebrating American holidays and experiencing these traditions first-hand will make your adventure much more fulfilling. If you are here in Denver during this time of the year, make sure you eat a lot of Turkey, give thanks to the people you love, and don’t forget to watch the football game!
Ready to experience Thanksgiving and other American holidays? Come to Denver to learn English and stay with one of our American Host Families!