An American tradition


When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, they were seeking a new way of life and of religious freedom. Their life in the new world was hard and many people died. As the story goes, after surviving their first year, they gathered to celebrate the harvest with the Native Americans that lived nearby. This is the tale, fact or fiction, at the center of the modern American holiday of Thanksgiving. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanks. Nowadays, Americans look forward to the four-day holiday as a time to spend time with family, eat delicious traditional foods and shop the reduced prices at Black Friday sales. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, with millions of Americans driving and flying to be home with their families. On Thanksgiving Day, American cooks wake up early to begin preparing the most traditional of Thanksgiving foods, roasted turkey. Everyone gathers in the early afternoon to enjoy a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, with apple pie for dessert. Many Americans settle down in front of the TV after dinner to watch football games. On Black Friday, some stores open as early as 6:00 AM while many stay open all night to attract shoppers to their sales. The stores hope to end the year in the black. Many economists point to the Black Friday sales as setting the tone for consumer confidence as Americans look forward to the biggest shopping season of all: Christmas.