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Thanksgiving (Upper-Intermediate – C1)

Thanksgiving - Transcript

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well. Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among most religions after harvests. The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.

Thanksgiving - Video

Thanksgiving - Video Gap Fill

Why not try a Video Gap Fill assignment based on this lesson?

Thanksgiving in the United States: A Celebration of Gratitude and Tradition

Thanksgiving feast for early Americans


Thanksgiving, a traditional American holiday, originated in the  early 17th century when English Pilgrims and Native Americans came together for a three-day feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This famous event took place in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The tradition of giving thanks at the end of the harvest would evolve into the modern-day Thanksgiving celebration. Thanksgiving did not become a fixed holiday until 1863. President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday during the Civil War period.

Special Meals

When you ask most people about Thanksgiving, the fist thing they will mention is the food.  At the heart of Thanksgiving celebrations is a feast shared among family and friends. The main dish of the meal is often a roasted turkey. Accompanying the turkey are an selection of side dishes, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a variety of vegetables. Gravy, a rich sauce made from the melted fat of the turkey, is poured over the meat and vegetables. Pumpkin pie and other desserts are also served as a part of the Thanksgiving feast.

Modern Interpretations

While Thanksgiving remains an occasion for celebrating the harvest the harvest, modern interpretations may vary from the established traditions. Many families have introduced aspects of their culture into the holiday. The most common example is introducing dishes from their heritage alongside traditional American fare. Thanksgiving has also become an occasion for volunteering and giving back to the community. Some individuals spend the day at soup kitchens or engage in charitable activities, emphasizing the importance of gratitude and generosity.

Black Friday

Following Thanksgiving Day, a cultural phenomenon known as

 kicks off the holiday shopping season with massive discounts and promotions. This day, typically the Friday after Thanksgiving, has become synonymous with excessive shopping and incredible discounts. The term “Black Friday” originated in the 1960s, with retailers using it to signify the point at which they began turning a profit for the year, moving from “in the red” to “in the black.” Early morning sales, long lines, and hunting for bargains create an atmosphere of excitement and urgency. While Black Friday has faced criticism for its impact on retail workers and the erosion of the traditional Thanksgiving family time, it remains a significant part of the post-Thanksgiving festivities.


After Thanksgiving Black Friday sale


Thanksgiving in the United States is a time-honored tradition that reflects a spirit of unity and gratitude. The celebration has changed over centuries, adapting to broader cultural changes. However, the event still represents its core values. As families gather around tables to share food and engage in acts of kindness, Thanksgiving continues to be a cherished occasion for most Americans.

Is Thanksgiving celebrated in your country? What do people do? Leave a comment below.



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