Thanksgiving aka “Turkey Day”

Jeden z nejznámějších amerických svátků je nepochybně Díkuvzdání, které sice máme i v Čechách, ale v docela odlišné formě. Odkud se tedy tradice vzala a jak přesně oslavy probíhají? To se dozvíte v článku od naší lektorky Sarah.

Autor: Sarah

Gobble Gobble, Empire readers! (That’s the sound a turkey makes in English.) Eating Turkey is a big tradition on Thanksgiving Day, so some people call this holiday “Turkey Day” for fun. Maybe you knew that we eat a big turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, but did you know why we eat this big bird? Well, it all started about 400 years ago, in “New England” before the USA was a country.


Many people say the first Thanksgiving dinner was in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621 when around 100 people called “pilgrimsset sail for “The New World” on the Mayflower. These pilgrims were very Christian and wanted to be separate from the English church, so they made a new home far away, where they could do what they wanted. Unfortunately, The New World was very different and very difficult for Europeans. Plants were different, so they had trouble farming. Animals were different and they had trouble hunting. This new place also had new illnesses, so many people died. They had no idea how to live there. Luckily, they met an American Indian named Squanto - and he spoke English! Squanto showed them how to grow corn, hunt deer, fish in the river, and also introduced them to a strange-looking bird, the turkey. This area is where turkeys were discovered, so they are truly an American tradition. The pilgrims were very grateful to Squanto and his American Indian friends, so after a few months of farming and learning to hunt well, they had a big feast with them to “give thanks” (thank them and also thank God). So, ever since, it has a been a tradition to have a day of Thanksgiving, usually with family. Different places in North America celebrated this day at different times until it became a National Holiday in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War. Now, this holiday is celebrated every year, on the last Thursday in November (November 26th this year). Canada also has their own Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.

Today, turkey is also popular in the United Kingdom on Christmas. Some Americans have it on Christmas too, but it is especially popular on Thanksgiving. These days people make their own traditions, so there is a lot more to enjoy than just turkey. People often stuff turkey with bread crumbs and spices, then take this out to eat after the turkey is cooked. This is called stuffing, which is so popular, many people also cook it outside of the turkey, on the stove with butter. Sometimes turkey meat can be a bit dry, so cranberry sauce is also quite popular. On the side, it is common to have mashed potatoes with gravy (also for the turkey), but some people prefer sweet potatoes. Some people even add marshmallows to the top of mashed sweet potatoes to make  a really sweet “sweet potato casserole.” Another popular side dish is green bean casserole. For dessert, the classic choice is pumpkin pie, though some families may prefer pecan pie, apple pie, or anything really.

Turkey with Stuffing


Pumpkin Pie (with whipped cream)


Cranberry sauce  (fresh)


Green Bean Casserole


Every family makes their own traditions, so it changes, but that’s what makes it great. Thanksgiving is a day for everyone to spend time with family or close friends. It is a holiday for people of every religion (or no religion), from America, or from other countries. Thanksgiving is the one truly American tradition for everyone to relax, eat (too much) good food, and be grateful for what they have. So, Empire readers, I hope you have a moment to be thankful today (and maybe eat some pie)! Happy Thanksgiving!

New words:

pilgrims- religious people who came to North America from England

set sail- left on a boat

Mayflower- the name of the boat the first pilgrims came on

American Indian- the original people of North America, also known as Native Americans or “Indians” in the past

discovered- found for the first time

feast- meal with lots of food and celebration

give thanks- to be thankful and/or to thank God

Thanksgiving- November 26th in 2015,  the holiday celebrated on the last

National Holiday- also called a bank holiday, especially in the UK

Civil War- when states in the southern US tried to become a different country

stuff- similar to “fill,” by putting a lot of something inside of something else, until it is very full