Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the most typical American holiday, first celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrim Fathers. The Pilgrim Fathers were a group of 102 people led by Puritans who sailed on the Mayflower from Europe to America in search for freedom of worship. They landed and settled in what is now Plymouth, in Massachusetts in December 1620. At first life was very hard and more than half of them died during the winter, but those who survived founded the second colony in North America, the first being Jamestown in Virginia, founded in 1607.
The Pilgrim Fathers met Squanto, a friendly Native American, who helped them make friends with the local tribes and taught them how to grow crops. From their new friends the Pilgrim Fathers also learned how to hunt animals and make maple syrup.
At the end of the summer they harvested a very rich crop and the Governor proclaimed a thanksgiving day to the Lord.
The Pilgrim Fathers had a feast and invited their Native American friends; they roasted turkeys, geese and corn, baked hoe cakes and made popcorn.

In more recent times, Thanksgiving was first proclaimed national holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, who also fixed the date on the final Thursday of November. In 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday of November and proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a federal holiday. Today American families celebrate Thanksgiving with a dinner in which the main dishes are roast turkey, corn and pumpkin pie.

Halloween

Halloween is celebrated on the night of October 31st. Originally it was celebrated in Britain and in the USA, but now it is also celebrated in other countries, including Italy. The word Halloween comes from All Hallows’ Eve; hallow means holy and eve means evening, and celebrates the eve of All Saints’ Day.Halloween belongs to the old Celtic tradition, when people believed that on the night of 31st October, the dead came out of their graves and scared people on Earth. No one is scared now, but in memory of the ancient tradition people, adults as well as children and teenagers, wear masks and costumes. He most popular costumes are witches, ghosts, skeletons, clowns, bats, spiders, black cats, owls and pirates. Children also like going trick-or-treating; that is to say, children go from door to door saying trick or treat, which means: if you don’t give me a treat - that is a small gift - I will play a trick on you.
Jack-O’-Lantern is the most popular symbol of Halloween. The legend has it that an Irish ghost named Jack liked to play horrible tricks on people, and for this reason he was banished from both Heaven and Hell, and condemned to walk on Earth carrying a lantern. If you want to make a jack-o’-lantern, take a big orange pumpkin, carve two eyes, a nose and a mouth, then put a burning candle inside the pumpkin.

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