Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Or 'Happy Turkey Day' as many Americans seem to say. Perhaps they have forgotten the day's origins. For the confused and the non-Americans who read this, allow me to provide a brief summary.

Thanksgiving is basically a harvest festival type festival. While in Britain harvests are over by September, after which time only sprouts can be harvested, here in the land of the free they harvest right up until the 4th Thursday in November.

The first thanksgiving was celebrated in the States when a bunch of pilgrims celebrated their harvest with prayers, like the devout Christians they were. As they sat down for their elaborate meal of roast turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, candied yams, corn, pumpkin pie and cherry pie ('cos not everyone likes pumpkin) they saw some smallpox-ridden native Americans scavenging for seeds nearby. 'Hey! Thanks for the land you guys,' the pilgrims shouted. 'Want some turkey?'

And so the tradition began. (According to Wikipedia it may not be quite this simple. Do your own research if you really want to know.)

In today's America it is illegal to eat anything other than turkey or pumpkin at Thanksgiving. Some Americans dodge this law and trick the Thanksgiving police by making other food in the shape of turkey or pumpkin, like this 'turkey bread'.

That's about all I know about Thanksgiving. But I would like to leave you with a little reminiscence. Harvest festival makes me think of the childhood nickname my sisters and I had for the enormous bellywarming knickers we scorned. After the words to the harvest hymn, 'all is safely gathered in, 'ere the winter storms begin', we used to call those big pants 'harvest festivals'. Still makes me giggle.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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