Thanksgiving may be the most American holiday of all: It involves eating obscene amounts of food, yelling at your family (usually your in-laws), and watching hours of football on TV. While that may seem like an average day for an American, Thanksgiving is actually unique.
It falls on the last Thursday of November (11/24 in 2016) every year, and has its roots in the origin of the country. The first American settlers arrived in New England – the northeastern region of the United States. The Puritans, were not familiar with the land and climate they now lived in. ThePuritans were very good at being religious and pious, but their first attempts to harvest fruits and vegetables were not great. Luckily, the indigenous people in the region, sometimes called Indians because Americans are excellent at geography, were pretty good with the land. In an act of generosity, the native people helped the Puritans survive their first seasons in America by sharing their food and knowledge. In return, The Americans repaid the native peoples with guns and blankets, which contained cool European diseases like cholera and smallpox. Americans like to commemorate this glorious cultural exchange by ‘giving thanks’ each November, despite the sad fate of the indigenous people of America. Typical Thanksgiving food includes: pumpkins, yams (sweet potatoes), cranberries and of course an enormous turkey. Scientists recently discovered that Turkey contains a chemical called tryptophan, which causes sleepiness, which explains some, but not all of the napping that Americans do on Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving meals famously include leftovers for the days or weeks after the meal, so you may be eating Turkey for a while. Most importantly,the president of the United States, officially pardons a live turkey every year in a televised ceremony, meaning that he or she will not be eaten this year, unlike tens of thousands of his bros. Congratulations, Turkey. Article extrait du blog The Good Word en partenariat avec Le Monde.fr
On October 31st, many celebrate Halloween. The holiday is a popular worldwide, especially for monsters, who finally get a chance to be themselves for once. The origins of Halloween are not entirely certain – some say it is an ancient Christian holiday, while others say that it has pagan roots. At its essence, it seems to be a commemoration of the dead, and cousin to traditions like ‘Toussaint’, ‘All Saint’s day’, and even El Dia de Los Muertos in Mexican culture.
The basic idea of these holidays is to pay homage to the dead, and blur the lines between the living and the dead. America has of course managed to add consumerism and candy to the equation.
Halloween traditions differ for young people and adults, but for both – costumes and disguises are involved. The idea is to amuse or frighten people enough for them to give you candy. Costume parties are common for adults, and sexy or creative costumes seem to be appreciated.
For the ultimate low-budget, do-it-yourself costume, we suggest a white sheet with holes for your eyes. Boom, you’re a ghost, plus you can sleep wherever you want afterwards, especially if you find someone dressed as a blanket. Other popular costumes: witches, goblins, werewolves, warlocks and goblins, and other scary creatures. Donald Trump will surely be a popular costume this year.
The ‘mascot’ or symbol of Halloween is the ‘Jack O Lantern’ – a carved pumpkin with a light inside. These are displayed in windows or on your front steps to show the Halloween spirit. You should throw them away in early November. They start to smell around Nov. 3rd.
For kids, the ultimate Halloween activity is ‘Trick or Treating‘. Kids wearing costumes walk around town, ringing doorbells and saying ‘trick or treat’, meaning – either give me candy or a ‘trick’. For this day at least, kids seem to be running the show.
Article extrait du blog The Good Word en partenariat avec Le Monde.fr