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American Life: November/Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Experiences

Thanksgiving is a harvest festival in which the participants give thanks and appreciation for food and family. It is one of eleven national American Holidays. Japan has seventeen national holidays, for reference. Americans originally started recognizing the holiday to celebrate a feast, that some of the early American settlers had with the indigenous American people. Specifically this group of indigenous people was known as the Wampanoag tribe. 


Thanksgiving is held on the third Thursday of November. This year it will be held on November 25th. It took Americans a while to decide the date of the holiday but after some changes it has remained this day for the last 70 years or so. I will conclude the history lesson here and continue by talking briefly about what many Americans do on this holiday.


Many Americans spend Thanksgiving with their families. As such, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travelling holidays in America. Due to the urbanization of America many families are spread out over a large area. This means in order to get together many people need to travel. The traffic reminds me of Obon traffic in Japan. All the main roads and highways are crowded. People are usually off from work and school from the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday) until the following Monday. It is common to have a 4.5 day holiday on Thanksgiving week. 


Thanksgiving is also about eating good food. Turkey, yams, cranberry sauce, salad, pumpkin pie are eaten on this day. I am sure there are some variations from different regions and cultures within America but this list is representative of what I ate as a child. Thanksgiving dinner is usually eaten at any time from mid to late afternoon. My family usually started dinner at around 4 or 4:30 pm. There are probably multiple reasons for this. One reason is that many people need to travel back to their homes after eating so they need time to digest their food before getting back on the road. Another reason is that their is much to clean up so this gives much time for that as well. In my opinion Thanksgiving food is by far the best food of any American holiday. 


Now American Thanksgiving isn’t well-known or widely recognized in Japan but if you ever have a chance to experience it I highly recommend you accept the offer. You will need time to recover from all the eating, however. 


See you next month to talk about Christmas in America! 

 

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