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День Благодарения / Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This holiday started almost 400 years ago in 1620 when British colonists gave a feast of thanksgiving for a good harvest and also to thank the Indians for their help.

Who are the Pilgrims and why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

The English had visited America at different times starting from the 15th century. Among them were John Cabot (1498), Sir Francis Drake (1577), Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1583) and Sir Walter Raleigh (1585).

The first successful English colony was founded in 1607 by a group of Englishmen who sailed to Virginia. They hoped to find riches. 105 men (there were no women or children at first) landed at a place they called Jamestown, after England’s King James I. They never found gold but the settlement survived partly with the help of Indians, partly because of their strong will and partly because they found tobacco which they sold to England at a very good price.

When King James I was rulling the country, many Englishmen did not like him. Many people also did not like the Church of England. That is why they wanted to leave the country. Puritans wanted to find religious freedom from the Church of England somewhere far away.

In 1620 some English families (about one hundred people) formed the group which they called the London Company. They left England from Plymouth on board the ship called Mayflower and sailed to America. Their harsh journey lasted for seven long weeks.

It was already winter when the ship reached the shores of America. The weather was terrible with rain and cold wind. First, 16 men landed and went ashore. They found some corn and brought it to the ship. The corn was left on that coast by the Indians.

Next day was Sunday. So, all the passengers of the ship had a rest. On Monday women went ashore to wash their clothes. Now in America Monday is "a wash-day".

Next five weeks men from the Mayflower left the ship and looked for a good place where they could live. The weather was getting colder and more and more people fell ill.

Finally, they found a place that seemed suitable. There was everything they needed — forests, fields, a small river and a harbour for ships. They started to build a village there which they later called New Plymouth.

King James I himself gave the Pilgrims the right to establish their own colony.

Why do many American cities have English names?... The first people who came to America did not try to invent new names for the settlements and towns they built, and often gave a new place the same name as the place they had come from. Along the coast of the United States we can find such English names as Plymouth, Cambridge, London, Boston etc. English names often appear with the word "new" as a prefix — New England, New York, New Britain and others. Many places were named in honour of famous Kings and Queens.

Those Englishmen who came to America in 1620 and who founded the colony of Plymouth (now State Massachusetts) are usually called the Pilgrim Fathers or the Pilgrims.

Actually these people were called Pilgrims many years after their trip. "Pilgrims" mean people who take a pilgrimage or a long journey to a holy land.

The Pilgrims were tired. Many of them died because they did not have enough food. The Pilgrims’ first winter in the New World was difficult, they had arrived too late to grow crops. Half of the Pilgrims died.

The following spring the Indians taught them how to fish, hunt and survive in America.

Despite the hardships that they had to go through, the Pilgrims survived the winter and in spring their life became easier. They built new good houses.

In autumn 1621 the harvest that the Pilgrims gathered was really good. So, they decided to make a holiday dinner. They also invited some Indians to their dinner to show how thankful the Englishmen were to Indians. They would not survive without their help.

The Indians brought turkeys with them as a present. Now a turkey and cranberry sauce are the traditional dishes on this day with a pumpkin pie as the most popular dessert.

They called this harvest holiday Thanksgiving Day (the day when you thank somebody).

George Washington made this holiday a national one in 1784. So, in the United States of America it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

No one knows for sure where the name "Yankee" comes from. Some think that the Indians who came to the village of New Plymouth called the Englishmen "Yankee" because it was difficult for them to pronounce the word "Englishmen".

Some think that it comes from the Dutch name Jan Kees (meaning John Cheese) or from a Dutch pirate named Yankey. Whatever the origin is, still in colonial times the British soldiers used this word as a rude name for the Americans whom they disliked.

Перевод некоторых слов:

to celebrate – отмечать, a British colonist – британский колонист, a feast – праздник, торжество, званый обед, a harvest – урожай, to be founded – быть основанным, a settlement – поселение, to survive – выживать, the Church of England – Англиканская Церковь, a Puritan – пуританин (в Англии в 16-17 вв. – участник религиозно-политического движения, направленного против абсолютизма и ставившего целью очищение англиканской церкви от остатков католицизма), religious freedom – религиозная свобода, corn – кукуруза, to reached the shores of America – добираться до берегов Америки, to fall ill – заболеть, suitable – подходящий, to establish a colony – организовать колонию, harbour – гавань, порт, the Pilgrim Fathers or the Pilgrims – паломник, пилигрим, странник, амер. первый колонист, hardships – тяготы, a turkey – индейка, cranberry sauce – клюквенный соус, a pumpkin pie – тыквенный пирог.

Данный текст поможет вам написать сочинение для 8, 9, 10, 11 классов на тему "День Благодарения в Америке", "День Благодарения в США", "Кто такие пилигримы", "Первые поселенцы в Америке", "Корабль Mayflower".

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