Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, of family gatherings and holiday meals. A time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. A time for Indian corn, holiday parades and giant balloons.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November, which this year （2003） is November 27th.
每年十一月的最后一个星期四是感恩节，在今年（2003）则是11月27日。下面让我们来看看感恩节的由来吧：The Pilgrims who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were originally members of the English Separatist Church （a Puritan sect）。 They had earlier fled their home in England and sailed to Holland （The Netherlands） to escape religious persecution. There, they enjoyed more religious tolerance, but they eventually became disenchanted with the Dutch way of life, thinking it ungodly. Seeking a better life, the Separatists negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Most of those making the trip aboard the Mayflower were non-Separatists, but were hired to protect the company's interests. Only about one-third of the original colonists were Separatists.乘“五月花”来到这个国度的旅行者（朝圣者）原本是英国分离者地下教会清教徒，他们的家在英国，因不堪忍受国内的宗教迫害，他们逃亡到荷兰。在荷兰，他们享受了更多的宗教信仰自由，但最终却意识到在荷兰的这种生活方式是对他们的主的亵渎。为了寻求更好的生活，他们与伦敦贸易公司协商，由该公司资助他们到美国。在这趟旅途中，船上只有大约1/3的乘客是清教徒，其他大多数人并非分离派清教徒，而是公司雇佣来保护其利益的人员（契约奴）。
The Pilgrims set ground at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. Their first winter was devastating. At the beginning of the following fall, they had lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. But the harvest of 1621 was a bountiful one. And the remaining colonists decided to celebrate with a feast —— including 91 Indians who had helped the Pilgrims survive their first year. It is believed that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help of the natives. The feast was more of a traditional English harvest festival than a true “thanksgiving” observance. It lasted three days.
Governor William Bradford sent “four men fowling” after wild ducks and geese. It is not certain that wild turkey was part of their feast. However, it is certain that they had venison. The term “turkey” was used by the Pilgrims to mean any sort of wild fowl.
Another modern staple at almost every Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie. But it is unlikely that the first feast included that treat. The supply of flour had been long diminished, so there was no bread or pastries of any kind. However, they did eat boiled pumpkin, and they produced a type of fried bread from their corn crop. There was also no milk, cider, potatoes, or butter. There was no domestic cattle for dairy products, and the newly-discovered potato was still considered by many Europeans to be poisonous. But the feast did include fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison, and plums.
This “thanksgiving” feast was not repeated the following year. But in 1623, during a severe drought, the pilgrims gathered in a prayer service, praying for rain. When a long, steady rain followed the very next day, Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of Thanksgiving, again inviting their Indian friends. It wasn't until June of 1676 that another Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed.
On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. It is notable that this thanksgiving celebration probably did not include the Indians, as the celebration was meant partly to be in recognition of the colonists' recent victory over the “heathen natives,”
October of 1777 marked the first time that all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration. It also commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. But it was a one-time affair.
George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, although some were opposed to it. There was discord among the colonies, many feeling the hardships of a few Pilgrims did not warrant a national holiday. And later, President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea of having a day of thanksgiving.
It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving. Hale wrote many editorials championing her cause in her Boston Ladies' Magazine, and later, in Godey's Lady's Book. Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale's obsession became a reality when, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.