Thanksgiving: A Favorite U.S. Holiday
Thanksgiving in the United States is a time to gather with family and friends, share a traditional meal and express gratitude for the good things in life. It can also be a time of service to others in the community.
Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving traces its origins to harvest festivals. It was customary to express gratitude for a bountiful harvest in the cultures of both the Pilgrims who sailed from England in 1620 and the Native Americans they encountered.
A three-day harvest celebration held in 1621 in Plymouth Colony (part of today’s Massachusetts) is generally considered to be the first American Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims had arrived the year before on the ship The Mayflower. They hadn’t brought enough food, and it was too late to plant crops. Half the colony died during the winter of 1620–1621. In the spring, local Wampanoag Indians taught the colonists how to grow corn (maize) and other crops, and helped them master hunting and fishing. They also showed the colonists how to cook cranberries, corn and squash.
1621年在普利茅斯殖民地（Plymouth Colony），即今天的马萨诸塞州（Massachusetts），人们举行为时三天的丰收庆典活动，一般被视为美洲的第一个感恩节。前一年，英国清教徒们乘坐“五月花”号（The Mayflower）抵达美洲大陆。他们没有带足够的粮食，重新种庄稼又太晚。1620至1621年冬，这个殖民地的一半人口不幸丧生。到了春天，当地万帕诺亚格部落的印第安人（Wampanoag Indians）向外来移民介绍如何种植玉米和其他庄稼，并帮助他们学会狩猎和捕鱼。他们还教他们如何烹制越橘、玉米和南瓜。
The colonists had bountiful crops in the fall of 1621. They invited their Wampanoag benefactors to feast on wild turkeys, duck, geese, fish and shellfish, corn, green vegetables and dried fruits. Wampanoag Chief Massasoit and his tribe brought venison.
Harvest festivals became a regular affair in New England. Thanksgiving was observed on various dates in the states until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as the national Thanksgiving holiday. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law fixing Thanksgiving on the fourth (not always the last) Thursday in November.
丰收庆典逐渐成为新英格兰地区的固定节日。1863年前，各州往往在不同日子庆祝感恩节。1863年，林肯（Abraham Lincoln）总统宣布11月份的最后一个星期四为全国感恩节。1941年，罗斯福（Franklin Roosevelt）总统签署法律，将感恩节确定为11月的第四个星期四（因为第四个星期四不一定总是最后一个星期四）。
GATHERING TOGETHER AND HELPING OUT 欢聚与相助
Many Thanksgiving traditions come from that 1621 harvest celebration. Sheaves of wheat or corn are often used as decorations. Roast turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie are commonly served at Thanksgiving dinner. But as the U.S. population becomes more diverse, so does the Thanksgiving meal. Nowadays, sitting next to the turkey might be a dish of tamales, tabbouleh, couscous or sauerkraut.
Colleges serve a special meal for students remaining on campus during Thanksgiving, and international students are often invited to share Thanksgiving with local families. U.S. troops stationed overseas are served a Thanksgiving meal. When Americans at home sit down at the table and give thanks, they often express gratitude for their freedom and the sacrifices made to preserve it.
Many people prepare Thanksgiving meals and serve them to the needy. Others donate to food drives, work at food warehouses or deliver groceries to soup kitchens, churches and other charitable groups.
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year because families make a special effort to be together. Some favorite pastimes include watching television coverage of the annual Macy’s Department Store parade in New York and of American football games played around the country. The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, an important time for U.S. retailers.
感恩节是一年中旅行最繁忙的时期。许多家庭会想一切办法举家团聚。人们喜爱的一些娱乐活动有，观看电视直播纽约市（New York）每年一度梅西百货商店（Macy’s Department Store）的大游行以及全国各地举行的美式足球比赛。感恩节后第二天意味着圣诞购物季节的开始，这对美国零售商来说是一个重要的促销季节。
One whimsical Thanksgiving tradition is the annual “pardoning” of a turkey by the U.S. president, who spares the bird from the dinner table. The bird goes on to live out its life at a petting zoo.
NATIVE AMERICANS 美洲印第安人
The harvest celebration of 1621 was followed by a long period of injustice and conflict between Native Americans and Europeans. Many Native Americans in the United States see Thanksgiving as a “National Day of Mourning.” However, others enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home or in large community gatherings, taking the opportunity to spend a day with family and friends. Each year in southern California, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians donates thousands of turkeys to charities and families in need.
1621年举行丰收庆典活动之后，在印第安人和欧洲移民之间出现了较长时期的不公平和相互冲突的情形。美国许多印第安人视感恩节为“国殇日”（National Day of Mourning）。但也有其他印第安人在家中享受感恩节大餐，或参加大型社区集会，并利用这个机会与家人和朋友共渡佳节。南加州（southern California）的印第安莫龙戈部落( The Morongo Band of Mission Indians) 每年都为慈善组织和有需求的家庭捐送数千只火鸡。
Native American history and culture are frequently discussed in schools around the Thanksgiving holiday and during November, which is National Native American Heritage Month.
11月恰逢全国印第安人传统月（is National Native American Heritage Month），许多学校经常在感恩节前后讨论印第安人历史及文化。