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萨拉-J-黑尔:感恩节

2006-07-09 13:55

  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 (2005) is November 24th.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. The date was changed a couple of times, most recently by Franklin Roosevelt, who set it up one week to the next-to-last Thursday in order to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Public uproar against this decision caused the president to move Thanksgiving back to its original date two years later. And in 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November.


  中文:

  在美国,感恩节是一个感谢恩赐,家庭团聚,合家欢宴的日子;是一个家家餐桌上都有火鸡、填料、南瓜馅饼的日子;是一个充满了印第安玉米、假日游行和巨型气球的日子。

  每年十一月的最后一个星期四是感恩节,在今年(2005)则是11月24日。下面让我们来看看感恩节的由来吧:

  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)。

  1620年12月11日,旅行者们在“普利茅斯石”登陆。他们的第一个冬季是灾难性的,第二年秋天来临时,原来的102名乘客只剩下56人。但1621 年他们获得了大丰收,这些幸存的殖民者们决定和帮助他们度过困难的91名印第安人一起飨宴庆祝。他们相信,若没有当地居民的帮助,他们是不可能度过这一年的。这次节日的盛宴不仅仅是一个“感恩”仪式,它更像英国传统的丰收庆典。庆典持续了三天。

  总督布雷德福派了“四人捕鸟队”去捕捉野鸭和野鹅。我们现在并不能确定是否有野生火鸡在当时的筵席上,但筵席上肯定有鹿肉。当时,朝圣者用 “火鸡”一词来代表各种野禽。

  现在,几乎每家感恩节餐桌上都有南瓜馅饼――感恩节的另一种主食。但在当年的第一次庆典上却不可能有这种食品。因为面粉奇缺,所以面包、馅饼、糕点等食物都没有。但他们却吃了煮南瓜,并用收获的玉米制成了一种油炸面包。也没有牛奶、苹果酒、土豆和黄油。没有驯养的奶牛,自然没有牛奶;而新发现的土豆被很多欧洲人认为是有毒的。第一次庆典上有鱼、草莓、豆瓣菜、龙虾、干果、蛤、鹿肉、李子等。

  紧接着的第二年(1622)却没有举行 “感恩”庆典。到了1623年,发生了一场严重的旱灾,朝圣者们聚集到一起,举行了虔诚的祈雨仪式,刚好在第二天,一场充沛的大雨从天而降。威廉-布雷德福总督宣布再次庆祝感恩节,并再次邀请了他们的印第安朋友。之后数年无感恩节,直到1676年6月,感恩节才再次被提出。

  1676年6月20日,马萨诸塞州的查尔斯顿政府委员会召开了一次会议,讨论如何才能最好表达对主的谢意:主赐予他们好运,庇佑他们安全地建立了他们的邦联。经过意见不统一的投票,由书记爱德华-劳森宣布6月29日为当年的感恩节。值得注意的是,因此次庆典在一定程度上是殖民者对战胜“野蛮的土著人”的庆祝,故印第安人极有可能未参加此次庆典。

  1777年10月,13个殖民地第一次联合举办了感恩节庆典,这也是对萨拉托加一役中战胜英国人所取得的爱国主义的胜利的纪念,但只举行了这一年。

  1789年,尽管出现反对的呼声,华盛顿总统还是宣布感恩节为全国性节日。在殖民地中也存在意见的分歧,不少人认为,仅仅一小撮朝圣者所经历的那些艰难困苦并不值得用一个全国节日来纪念。之后,杰弗逊总统还对这件事嗤之以鼻。

  若没有萨拉-J-黑尔――一位杂志编辑的努力,最终就不会有我们现在所谓的感恩节。在她主编的“波士顿妇女杂志”及稍后的“Godey's 女士手册”中,她撰写了大量的社论,支持将感恩节定为全国性节日。40年中,她坚持不懈地发表评论,不断致信州长乃至总统,最后,理想终于变为现实: 1863年,林肯总统发表声明,将11月的最后一个星期四定为感恩节――一个全国性的节日。

  从此历届总统都按此行事。但具体时间也发生过几次变化。最近的一次是富兰克林-罗斯福总统宣布的。为开创一个更长的圣诞购物季节,罗斯福总统宣布将感恩节日期改在11月的倒数第二个星期四,即提前了一个星期。但公众反对呼声太高,两年后,总统不得不将感恩节日期改回到原来的时间。1941年,美国国会最终通过决议,将感恩节定为美国法定假日,的时间是每年11月的最后一个星期四。

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