19. Thanksgiving – Families Coming Together
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated by many people in the United States and Canada. In the United States it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and marks the start of the Christmas season. Some people celebrate Thanksgiving to remember the first harvest of the pilgrims and Puritans, groups of people from England who immigrated to North America in the 1600s. Some people recreate the first Thanksgiving and dress up as pilgrims, puritans, and the Native Americans who are said to have helped the new arrivals find food to survive their first winter.
Most people, however, see Thanksgiving as one day a year to reflect upon what they are thankful for. Some families will sit together and take turns saying aloud what they are thankful for. An important part of Thanksgiving is families coming together. Extended family members often travel long distances to share the day with their loved ones. In the United States Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. People travel in planes, trains, buses, and cars to share a very special meal - Thanksgiving dinner.
What most Thanksgiving celebrations have in common is the food. On Thanksgiving many families prepare large, elaborate dinners to share with friends and loved ones. Many of these dinners use ingredients associated with the fall harvest, like cranberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and cranberries. Roast turkey is the traditional meat served. It is so common that some people call Thanksgiving Day "Turkey Day". The turkey is usually served with gravy and stuffing. Pies are usually served for dessert. The most common pies served are sweet potato, apple, pecan, and pumpkin.
Thanksgiving is not just celebrated in the privacy of people's homes. Every year the President of the United States pardons a turkey, saving it from becoming someone's meal. In New York City, Macy's, a department store, holds a large parade with huge balloons of various cartoon characters floating down the street.
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