Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 by English settlers of the Plymouth colony, and the spirit and customs with which they endowed the day have remained unchanged.
The settlers, who have since come to be called the Pilgrims had left their native England because they had been denied the right to separate from the Established Church to worship in their own way. They fled first to Holland, and in 1620 they sailed to America on the "Mayflower", and after a tempestous two-month voyage they landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, in icy November.
During their first winter, over half of the settlers died of starvation or epidemics, but the courageous survivors, through faith and some fortunate circumstances, were able to found a permanent colony. While scouting the area for fresh water, they had unearthed a cache of Indian seed corn, and when April came they began their planting, struggling with the rocky soil as they had struggled with the bitter climate. When, finally, the fields produced a yield rich beyond expectations, Governor William Bradford proclaimed 'a day of Thanksgiving unto the Lord so we might after a more special manner, rejoice after we had gathered the fruits of our labors."
The idea of giving thanks was not new nor was it peculiar to the Pilgrims. Throughout mythology and recorded history there have been harvest festivals. The ancient Hebrews, the Greeks and the Romas all celebrated the earth's bounty. The English had their "Harvest Home", a festival to celebrate the last load of grain brought home, with its church service of thanksgiving followed by a public feast and sports events. All these were part of the colonists' heritage. Yet Thanksgiving as first celebrated by the Pilgrims and repeated by Americans ever since has unique qualities born of life in the New World.
After 1623 Thanksgiving Days were celebrated irregularly and on a regional basis. A national Thanksgiving Day came only after the thirteen colonies had been united and George Washington, the Republic's first president, had assumed office.
Since Lincoln's time it has been the custom for the President of the United States to proclaim annually the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, and for the Governors of the states to issue proclamations for their respective states. The date has remained as fixed in 1863, nor has the pattern of the Thanksgiving celebration changed through the years.
Table decorations follow a traditional pattern. Flowers also bring the Fall scene indoors. There are bouquets of chrysanthemums of golden yellow combined with dried branches. The centerpiece is the traditional roast turkey.
Exercise 1.Choose the word or phrase that best completes each
1. The first Americans . . . were of British stock.
a) inhabitants b) settlers c) population
2. He was . . . a mile from the hotel when he ran out of petrol.
a) within b) inside c) only
3. When the fields produced rich harvest Governor Bradford . . . a day of Thanksgiving to the Lord.
a) announced b) proclaimed c) started
4. They . . . the fire brigade twice yesterday.
a) summoned b) called for c) called out
5. Goverment is said . . . currency notes from circulation.
a) call in b) withdraw c) get rid of
6. Christmas is . . . all over the world.
a) marked b) celebrated c) noted
7. . . . Lincoln's time the 4th Thursday of Novebmer was proclaimed as Thanksgiving Day.
a) from b) since c) throughout
8. Easter is one of the most important . . . in the Christian world.
a) festivals b) feasts c) celebrations
Exercise 2. Look through the text and find words or phrases
which meas the same as
a usual, habitual course of action; escape; more than half of; to locate permanently; to make known publicly; very special; every year; written history.
Exercise 3. Talk about some more American festivals.
Exercise 4.Listen to the lecture on American life-style and determine
whether each of the following statements is true or false
according to the information in the lecture.
1. The American family hasn't changed much in the last few decades.
2. The traditional American family consists of a mother, father and one or two children.
3. Grandparents do not care for their grandchildren.
4. The roles of parents have not changed.
5. Today nearly half of married American women work.
6. Men do not take part in raising children.
7. Edlerly parents prefer to live separately from their children.
Information Letter. Going on a Business Trip
Dear Mr Petrov
I would like to inform you that a delegation from our company of two people will arrive in Moscow in the end of October.
I would be grateful if you could arrange their visit to some of the development laboratories to see the equipment in operation.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Note! No abbreviations can be used in business letter.
Chris - Do you like the idea of taking a month's trip to Moscow?
Susan - What? You are kidding!
Chris - No. First of all I must say it will be a business trip.
The company wants us to visit some of our operations.
Susan - You mean we'll have meetings about the new computer we are
Chris - Yes, one of the development laboratories is in Moscow.
The company has got an office there.
Susan - Is it a joint venture?
Chris - Yes, it is.
Susan - It'll be very exciting.
Exercise 1.Write an information letter about your arrival in London.
You are coming to get acquianted with a new line of
metallurgical equipment. Discuss the business trip with
Exercise 2.Telephone you English colleagues and make all necessary
appointments. Use the patterns from the previous units.
not to be in the office for a moment; to leave a message for smb; to phone back; to connect with; to make an appointment; could you put me through to smb; I'm sorry; I am fully booked for that day; could you come over to the office tomorrow; can I confirm the appointment; would it be too much to ask you to arrange a trip to?; I'm sorry he is in a conference now; etc.
Comprehension Check | Basic Metallurgy of Cast Iron | Exercise 4. More about word-building: Prefixes. | Focus on Grammar | Education | Comprehension Check | Alloy Steels | Lexical Exercises | Exercise 5. More about word-building: Prefixes. | Focus on Grammar |