Thanksgiving History and Traditions
等到第二年的丰收，他们就要理由来庆贺一番了。而且美国人也与他们的邻居，当地的万帕诺格人（印第安人中的一族 - 译者注）签了和平协议。 他们的领袖梅西索特教了美国人如何在这新大陆种植，于是就有了这一年的大丰收。按照英国清教徒的习惯，他们决定用庆祝丰收来纪念上帝的丰富供应。
1. 火鸡的香味 - 根据美国火鸡联合会统计，在全美国有91%在人们在感恩节吃火鸡。自从当初在新英格兰庆祝的惯例，火鸡就是感恩节的一个很持久的标志。在美国南方，人们喜欢吃油炸火鸡，而在美国的北方传统是吃烤火鸡。无论美国人是怎样烹调火鸡，在感恩节一天，全美国会消耗六万七千五百万镑火鸡。
2. 与别人共享 - 当美国人聚集在一起来分享这一年的丰硕成果和恩典的时候，人们也常常邀请那些不太幸运人们来一起共享。义工们聚集在一个为大众煮饭的餐厅里，为人们提供免费的感恩节晚餐，把人们的感恩回归社区。如果要知道怎样参与这些义工，请看“慈善事业和义工”部分。
3. 欣赏橄榄球比赛 - 当大家都在感恩节大餐上吃得饱饱的以后，很多人就坐下来看橄榄球比赛。自从1870年代开始，美国人就在感恩节那天看橄榄球比赛。在1893年，一位讽刺记者写道，“感恩节是一个被全国确立为看橄榄球比赛的节日。”
4. 看大游行 - 在看橄榄球比赛之外，美国人还聚在一起看最大和最著名之一的梅西感恩节大游行。无论你是在电视前看，还是亲自到纽约身历其中地享受，那一次的游行必定会看到很多气球。大腿舞和坐在雪橇上的圣诞老人。纽约客和游客会在游行前一天的晚上，根据他们所得到有关游行队伍如何表演的消息，就把看游行的好位置都给占据了。
5. 许个愿 - 自从伊特鲁利亚人开始就有拉断火鸡、鸡和其他家禽“许愿骨”的游戏。所以在吃火鸡的时候就会问，“谁吃到了‘许愿骨’？”因为罗马人把这个习惯带到了英国，然而英国人又把这个习惯带到了美国。
感恩节不仅是火鸡、美式足球（橄榄球）赛和游行 - 感恩节是关于在这一年里你所受到的祝福。在这一年里，你有什么感恩的事项吗？为什么有这样的感恩？
Why Do We Celebrate?
America's first Thanksgiving, in 1621, was a three-day celebration of feasting and recreation. The prior year was the Pilgrims' first winter at Plymouth, and it was so harsh almost half of the colonists perished.
By the second harvest, there was reason to rejoice. A peace treaty was signed with the Wampanoag, the Pilgrims' Native American neighbors. And Massasoit, their leader, shared his agricultural expertise, which resulted in a bumper crop. As was common in England, where the Pilgrims originated, they chose to commemorate their bounty with a harvest festival.
Most accounts of the actual event mention neither turkey nor pumpkin, our modern Thanksgiving staples. Indian corn was plentiful, however. Four valiant Pilgrim housewives supervised the feast that Massasoit and 90 of his people attended, bringing five deer as their contribution to the communal table.
Presumably, the Pilgrims followed the English custom of the day and served their neighbors buffet-style; dishes were placed on the table and guests helped themselves. There were no forks, only knives, spoons, and large napkins that were used to pick up hot foods and to tidy the face and fingers. Food could be eaten directly from the serving dish or you could share a trencher (wooden plate). No meal could begin without saying grace, since the Pilgrims believed that their good fortune was due to their relationship to God.
Similar New England harvest festivals evolved into an annual tradition, officially acknowledged in 1777, when the Continental Congress declared the first national Thanksgiving. President Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863, after 23 years of lobbying by Sarah Josepha Hale, an acclaimed author and editor.
The regional foods of New England, including turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin, came to be identified with the holiday, as did the inspirational story of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe feasting and coexisting in peace.
Our National Traditions
These are the five most common activities Americans traditionally enjoy on Thanksgiving Day. How many does your family do?
1. Savoring the Bird According to the National Turkey Federation, 91 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Dating back to New England harvest traditions, eating turkey is the enduring symbol of the holiday. In the South, some prefer their turkey deep-fried rather than roasted in the traditional Yankee fashion. No matter how the turkey is prepared, Americans will eat approximately 675 million pounds of turkey alone this holiday.
2. Reaching Out As Americans gather together to share the year's bounty, families also reach out to those less fortunate. Volunteering at soup kitchens is a time-honored way to express our thanks and give back to the community. For more information on how to volunteer, go to "Charities and Volunteering."
3. Taking Time Out -- For Football When everyone is full from the groaning Thanksgiving table, many folks settle in for football. Americans have been playing and watching football on Thanksgiving since the 1870s. One sarcastic reporter noted in 1893, "Thanksgiving...is a holiday granted by...the Nation to see a game of football."
4. Watching the Big Parade In addition to the big football games, Americans gather around to watch one of the biggest and most famous parades, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Whether you watch it on TV or go to New York City to see it in person, the day would not be complete without the balloons, the Rockettes, and Santa on his sleigh. Locals and visitors alike congregate the night before the parade to watch the floats as they're inflated and to stake out a place for great sight lines the next morning.
5. Making a Wish Who gets the wishbone in your family? Ever since the Etruscans, people have been pulling apart the forked bone from a turkey, chicken or other fowl and making a wish. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English brought it to America.
What is your favorite holiday that is celebrated with family, friends, and food? What are some of the traditions of that celebration?
Thanksgiving is not just about turkey, football, and parades -- it is about being thankful of the blessings you have received this year. What are you thankful for this year? Why?