This year, on November 22, the United States will celeberate a major national holiday called Thanksgiving. This is major yearly holiday when Americans give thanks (therefore "Thanksgiving") and feel grateful for the many blessings that they have. It is a day for Americans to visit their relatives, eat a large meal together, and remember how lucky they are to have food, shelter, and family.
Especially this year, people are more aware of the good fortunes Americans have. Although it has been a difficult year, with terrorist attacks and the war in Afghanistan, the bad economy, airplane crashes, and other tragedies, Americans still enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.
For many Foreigners, they are curious about one Thanksgiving tradition: the turkey. Most Foreign people I know do not like to eat turkey. This seems to be a tradition unique to America. Why is a turkey the main course at Thanksgiving dinner?
Turkeys have always lived in North America. They have been in North America for over 10 million (10,000,000) years! Amazingly, they can fly up to 90 kilometers per hour, or as fast as a car.
American Indians frequently hunted wild turkeys. They were found in many places, including areas that are now in Mexico. The European explorers took turkeys back to Europe.
One of the first English groups to come to America were called the Pilgrims. They suffered greatly in their early years, but with the help of the local Indians, they survived through the first few winters. To celebrate their survival, they had a great feast and invited the Indians to join them. That was the first Thanksgiving.
All Americans know the story of the first Thanksgiving meal between the Pilgrims and the Indians. According to the story, turkey was the main meal. Since that time, Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
The turkeys we eat today are not wild turkeys, but are raised on farms. Wild turkeys were almost all hunted and eaten until they became protected by the government. Some famous Americans wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the USA. However, the bald eagle was chosen.
So every year on Thanksgiving Day, Americans gather together and eat turkey, and other standard foods such as potatoes, bisquits, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables, and other foods that were plentiful in the country since the day of the first Thanksgiving.
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