The fourth Thursday in November is celebrated every year in the USA as Thanksgiving Day. It was originally a day when people thanked God for the food harvest and blessings they had received during the year. There are different stories to explain the first Thanksgiving Day, but the most famous dates back to 1621. The first winter in Massachusetts was long and hard for the group of English settlers, known as the Pilgrim Fathers. The native people in the area helped them to survive, teaching them how to plant corn, pumpkins and other crops. The following year the settlers and the Native Americans celebrated the harvest together.

Thanksgiving didn’t become a public holiday until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln decided to make its date official. Nowadays, it is a day when families traditionally get together to have a special celebration dinner. The menu usually includes roast turkey and other food typically eaten by the first Pilgrims. Today, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and marks the day when Christmas shopping officially begins. Many shops offer incredible bargains and special offers but recently the biggest sales have often been online, where shopping is no longer limited to a one-day event.

 

Illustration by Anna+Elena Balbusso, taken from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Reading and Training, Step 4 (B2.1)