History Lesson



Read the text.

The story of Americas Thanksgiving begins with the Pilgrims. Early in the 17-th century, the Pilgrims left England in search of religious freedom. In 1608, they sailed to Holland. Then, in 1620, they set sail once again and crossed the Atlantic aboard a leaky ship called the Mayflower.

After sailing for many weeks, the Pilgrims landed at a place now called Massachusetts. They set up a colony at Plymouth, where they planted the seeds they had brought from England. But the seeds didnt grow well, and there was so little food for the Pilgrims that many of them starved to death.

Luckily for the Pilgrims, some nearby Indians came to rescue. They taught the Pilgrims to grow native food such as corn. The Indians even helped to build houses for the newcomers. Without this help, the Pilgrims would not have survived.

After the first harvest, the governor of Plymouth Colony - William Bradford - suggested that the Pilgrims hold a feast of thanksgiving. He felt that it was a good time to thank God for the Pilgrims survival in their new homeland. And to their thanksgiving feast the Pilgrims invited the Indians. The Pilgrims were grateful to the Indians for helping the Colony survive. In addition, they hoped that the celebration would strengthen their friendship with the Indians.

Nobody knows the date of the first Thanksgiving feast, or even if it was called Thanksgiving. But we do know that the Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed a huge feast of deer, goose, duck, oyster, eel, bread, fruit, and corn meal pudding. Everything was cooked over open fires, and the Indians even showed the Pilgrims how to roast corn over the flames to make popcorn!

In 1789 George Washington declared that Thanksgiving would be a national celebration. But later the holiday faded in importance. In 1827, Sarah Hale started a campaign to have Americans observe Thanksgiving once again. Her efforts were finally successful in 1863, when President Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated every year on the third Thursday of November. In 1941, while Franklin Roosevelt was president, Thanksgiving was moved to the fourth Thursday in November.



Ex.1. Translate from Russian into English using the text above:

; ; ; , ; ; ; ; ; , ; ; ; ; .


Ex.2.Unscramble the letters to find the missing word in each sentence below. But beware! Each set of scrambled letters contains an extra letter.

1. The Pilgrims left England for Holland because they wanted i g o r s e u i l p freedom.

2. In 1620, the Pilgrims sailed to the New World aboard the a l r a f M w o y e.

3. The Pilgrims landed in t a t a M s s s s u e h t c

4. The e e h s d s they had brought from England didnt grow well.

5. Many of the Pilgrims v e u d r s a t to death.

6. The a i I n n y s d helped the Pilgrims by teaching them how to grow corn.

7. The Pilgrims were u g m f r t a l e for their help.

8. Without the help of the Indians, the Pilgrims wouldnt have  u z e s d v r i v .

9. v g o e r a n r o Bradford suggested a Thanksgiving celebration after the Pilgrims first harvest.

10. The first Thanksgiving was meant to strengthen the Pilgrims i s f f h r p n d e i with the Indians.

11. The e t a p d of the first Thanksgiving feast is not known.

12. At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims enjoyed wild birds and strawberries, squash and u i p p v n m k.

13. Even  n p r o o d c p  was served at the first Thanksgiving.

14. The first Thanksgiving feast  may have lasted for  e i h e t r  days.

15. In 1789, George Washington  d p k r e o m c i l a  Thanksgiving a national holiday.


Ex.3.Answer the questions.

1. The story of  Americas Thanksgiving begins with the Pilgrims, doesnt it?

2. When did the Pilgrims cross the Atlantic?

3. What was the name of their ship?

4. What kind of ship was it?

5. Was it a long voyage or a short trip?

6. Where did they land after sailing for many weeks?

7. They set up two colonies at Plymouth, didnt they?

8. Why didnt the seeds, which they had planted, grow well?

9. Who helped the Pilgrims to survive?

10. How did the natives help them?

11. Who suggested  holding a feast of thanksgiving after the first harvest?

12. Who were the Pilgrims going to thank?

13. Were the Indians invited to the feast?

14. Why were they invited to the thanksgiving feast?

15. Is the date of the first Thanksgiving known?

16. We even dont know whether it was called Thanksgiving, do we?

17. What kind of meal did the Pilgrims and Indians enjoy?

18. How was the meal cooked?

19. Do you think the meal was tasty?

20. Who declared that Thanksgiving would be a national celebration?


Its interesting...

Turkey Trivia.

-        Americans eat over 75 million turkeys each year, most of them at Thanksgiving time.

-        A male turkey is called a tom. A female is called a hen. Young turkeys are poults.

-        Turkey eggs are twice as big as chicken eggs.

-        The turkey is native to North and South America - the only kind of poultry that is.

-        A wild turkey can fly up to 55 miles per hour.

-        The largest turkey can weigh up to 50 pounds.


Facts About the Natives

- The Native Americans who came to the thanksgiving feast at Plymouth were members of the Wampanoag (wam-puh-NO-ag) nation. Chief Massasoit, their leader, arrived at the feast with 90 of his people. The Wampanoag smoked their pipes, tasted English cooking, and presented a dance to the Pilgrims.

- Wampanoag men living near Plymouth wore deerskin aprons in warm weather. In cold weather, they wore deerskin leggings, moccasins, and mantles. They often wore an eagle feather in their hair.

- Wampanoag women wore deerskin dresses and moccasins. Their long hair was worn braided. Jewelry was made of shells, and coats were made of deerskin or beaver fur.

- The Wampanoag moved several times during each year in order to get food. In the spring they would fish in the rivers for salmon and herring. In the planting season they would move to the forest to hunt deer and other animals.

- They respected the forest and everything in it as equals. Whenever a hunter made a kill, he was careful to leave behind some bones or meat as a spiritual offering, to help other animals to survive.  Not to do so would be considered greedy.

- Squanto (SKWAN-toe), the man who came to help the Pilgrims and who could speak English, was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa-TUK-et). Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims built Plymouth. In 1605, Squanto went to England with a friendly English explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and learned to speak English. Squanto came back to New England with Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the village and sold Squanto to the Spanish in the Caribbean Islands. A Spanish Franciscan priest befriended Squanto and helped him to get to Spain and later on a ship to England. Squanto then found Captain Weymouth, who paid his trip back to his homeland. In England Squanto met Samoset, who had also left his native home with an English explorer. They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons everywhere. Everyone in the village had died from an illness the English slavers had left behind.

One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They saw people in their deserted village. For several days they stayed nearby observing the newcomers. Finally they decided to approach them. Samoset walked into the village and said, Welcome! Squanto soon joined him.


This traditional Thanksgiving hymn, based on a Netherlands folk hymn, was translated by Theodore Baker (1851 - 1934)



We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord blessing:

He chastens and hastens his will to make known;

The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,

Sing praises to his name: He forgets not His own.


Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,

Ordaining maintaining his kingdom divine;

So from the beginning the fight we were winning;

Thou, Lord, was at our side, all glory be thine!


We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,

And pray that thou still our defender will be.

Let thy congregation escape tribulation;

Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!



Following, is a song traditionally performed by American school children during the Thanksgiving Holiday in November. This song originally appeared as a poem written by Lydia Maria Child in Flowers for Children, vol.2 in 1844.


A Boys Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,

to Grandmothers house we go;

the horse knows the way

to carry the sleigh

through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood,

to Grandfathers house away!

We would not stop

for doll or top,

for tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood-

when Grandmother sees us come,

she will say, Oh, dear,

the children are here,

bring a pie for everyone.

Over the river, and through the wood-

now Grandmothers cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun!

Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!



Enjoy the poems by Jack Prelutsky.


Its Happy Thanksgiving

Its happy Thanksgiving,

Thanksgiving! Hooray!

Were going to dinner

at Grandmas today.

I love at Grandmas,

its cozy and snug,

I love giving Grandma

a Thanksgiving hug.

I help make the gravy,

I pour and I stir,

it smells so delicious,

I love helping her.

We laugh and we talk,

oh, she makes such a fuss

as she bustles about

cooking dinner for us.

When we sit at the table

and Daddy says grace,

theres a beautiful smile

on my grandmothers face.

Though the weather is windy

and chilly and gray,

our family is happy

this Thanksgiving day.


The Middle of November

Its middle of November

and the weathers crisp and cool,

Thanksgivings getting closer

so theres lots to do at school.

Our teacher gives us projects

that we work on every day,

we make Indians and Pilgrims

out of paper, paste and clay.

Our bright Thanksgiving murals

are displayed on all the walls,

and our cut out paper pumpkins

daily decorate the halls.

Today I drew a turkey

with a fat and funny face -

in the middle of November

schools a very busy place.

The First Thanksgiving

When the Pilgrims

first gathered together to share

with their Indian friends

in the mild autumn air,

they lifted their voices

in jubilant praise

for the bread on the table

the berries and maize,

for field and for forest,

for turkey and deer,

for the bountiful crops

they were blessed with that year.

They were thankful for these

as they feasted away,

and as they were thankful,

we are thankful today.


The Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving Day is here today,

the great parade is under way,

and though its drizzling quite a bit

Im sure that Ill see all of it.

Great balloons are floating by,

cartoon creatures stories high,

Mickey Mouse and Mother Goose,

Snoopy and the mammoth, moose,

Humpty-Dumpty, Smokey Bear,

Hover in the autumn air.

Through the windy skies they sway,

I hope that they dont blow away.

The bands are marching, here they come;

pipers pipe and drummers drum,

hear the tubas and the flutes,

see the clowns in silly suits.

Its pouring now, but not on me,

Im just as dry as dry can be,

I watch and watch, but dont get wet,

Im watching on our TV set.


By O.Eastnick


Thank You

for all my hands can hold-

apples red,

and melons gold,

yellow corn

both ripe and sweet,

peas and beans

so good to eat


Thank You

for all my eyes can see-

lovely sunlight,

field and tree,

white clouds - boats

and see - deep sky,

soaring birds

and butterfly.


Thank You

for all my ears can hear -

birds song echoing

far and near,

songs of little stream, big sea,

cricket, bullfrog, duck, and bee!


Ex.4. Answer the questions given below. The information you need is in the texts, poems, and songs about Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims, and Indians.

1. Why is school a very busy place in the middle of November?

2. What kind of projects does the teacher give the students to work on?

3. What is displayed on all the walls at school?

4. What is the hall decorated with?

5. Do you think the children enjoy decorating their school for Thanksgiving?

6. You also decorate your school for Thanksgiving, dont you?

7. When was the first Thanksgiving Day celebrated in America?

8. Whom did the Pilgrims invite to share their festive meal?

9. How many Indians came to see the Pilgrims and to celebrate with them?

10. Could any of the Indians speak English?

11. Where did they learn the language?

12. What meal was served during the first Thanksgiving?

13. What meal do people enjoy nowadays?

14. Kids like to visit their grandmothers on Thanksgiving, dont they?

15. What do they love at their grandmothers?

16. Do children only go to eat a delicious meal or do they help their grandmothers to cook?

17. What else do people do on Thanksgiving besides eating a lot of food?

18. Why is Thanksgiving celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November?


Ex.5. Can you unscramble these words and read the names of the meals that were served during the first Thanksgiving?















Time for fun.


If Turkey Thought

by Jack Prelutsky

If turkeys thought, theyd run away

a week before Thanksgiving Day.

But turkeys cant anticipate,

and so theres turkey on my plate.


Heres a silly Thanksgiving song. It is sung to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. Learn this song and sing it to the students of the elementary school who learn English. Or you might help them to have their own Thanksgiving lessons. Some of the younger students will be squirrels, woodchucks, chipmunks, and so on. You will help your young friends to enjoy their English lesson.


Here Go Over to Silly Tillys

Here we go over to Silly Tillys

Silly Tillys, Silly Tillys.

Here we go over to Silly Tillys

On Thanksgiving Day.


Mrs. Squirrel brought acorn jam,

Acorn jam, acorn jam.

Mrs. Squirrel brought acorn jam

On Thanksgiving Day.


Mr. Woodchuck brought nut cake,

Brought nut cake, brought nut cake.

Mr. Woodchuck brought nut cake

On Thanksgiving Day.


Mr. Turkey brought corn to pop,

Corn to pop, corn to pop.

Mr. Turkey brought corn to pop

On Thanksgiving Day.

Mr. Chipmunk brought cranberry stew,

Cranberry stew, cranberry stew.

Mr. Chipmunk brought cranberry stew

On Thanksgiving Day.


Mrs. Fieldmouse brought oat bran pudding,

Oat bran pudding, oat bran pudding.

Mrs. Fieldmouse brought oat bran pudding

On Thanksgiving Day.


Mr. Bunny brought potato pie,

Potato pie, potato pie.

Mr. Bunny brought potato pie 

On Thanksgiving Day.


It was the very best Thanksgiving,

Best Thanksgiving, best Thanksgiving.

It was the very best Thanksgiving

The animals had ever had!



Its interesting.



It is based on historic figures and measurements. Tackle it in small groups.

1. The Mayflower left England with 102 passengers on September 16, 1620. It got to Plymouth Rock on November 21, 1620. How long did the trip take?

2. Today a ship makes this trip in 6 days. How much longer did the Mayflower take to cross the ocean?

3. Two babies were born on the Mayflower: Oceanus, a boy, and Peregrine, a girl. That first winter was hard. By April only 53 Pilgrims were still alive. How many Pilgrims died in the first15 months they were there?

4. The men were able to build 7 houses and 4 public buildings. About how many people had to live in each house?

5. The first Thanksgiving was (some scientists believe) in 1621. How long ago was that?

6. There were 55 Pilgrims at the feast. Five Women and few girls did all the cooking. About 90 Indians came. Around how many people were at the first Thanksgiving?

7. The Plymouth Colony was begun in 1620 and ended in 1692 when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. How long did the Plymouth colony last?

8. G. Washington made November 26, 1789, the first US Thanksgiving. How long ago was that?

9. In 1941 the US Congress fixed the date for Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November. How many years have Americans had this date for their national holiday?

10. The Spanish explores found 60 lb. turkeys living in the New World. They sent some to Spain in 1579. How long ago was it?



Read the text.


If you are anything like me, then you dont like getting up at 5:30 in the morning to fight crowds along the parade route just to get best seat. And when its all over, you have to wait in all that traffic just to get back home and eat. You stay home and watch this great event on TV. That makes you feel like you are right there in person!

But millions of people line the streets between 77-th Street to 34-th Street. Over 2 miles! (3,2 km.) They are here for one reason - to see the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For over 70 years, Macys has given Americans a tradition, which both celebrates America and calls forth Christmas.

How did this most famous of American parades get started?

It actually stems from European tradition. In the 1920s, many of Macys department store employees were first generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the American holiday with the type of festival they loved in Europe.

The employees marched from 145 Street down to 34-th Street dressed as clowns, cowboys, knights, and sheiks. There were floats; professional bands and 25 live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. With the audience of over a quarter of a million people, the parade was a hit!

Large balloons first appeared in 1927 with Felix the Cat. One tradition long gone is the releasing of the balloons. They would float for days and the lucky finder could claim for a prize! Ah, the good old days!

Through the 1930s the Parade grew and grew. New balloons such as Walt Disney characters were among the favorites. Radio audiences were able to hear the ceremonies and Santas arrival at 34-th Street.

The 1940s saw an end to the Parade since there wasnt much to celebrate during World War II. The rubber and helium could not be wasted, either.

The Parade resumed in 1945 and was televised in New York. The Parade also began the route it still runs today.

With nationwide television, the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade assumed its hold on the entire nation in the 1950s.

The Parade has always been known for its policy of going on rain or shine.

The most bittersweet year of the Parade had to be 1963. Less than a week after President Kennedys assassination, the country was still mourning. But, it went on so as not to disappoint the millions of children.

The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is a true New York experience that is magical for both children and adults. We thank Macys and wish them another 70 years of marching down Broadway!


Answer the questions about the Macys Parade.

1. At what time are people in New York supposed to get up in the morning if they want to get best seats to see the Parade?

2. What does this Parade celebrate?

3. When did this tradition begin?

4. Who started this tradition?

5. Why did they start it?

6. How did the parade differ from the one nowadays?

7. Large balloons first appeared in 1928, didnt they?

8. What new balloons appeared in 1930?

9. What happened to the Parade in 1940?

10. Did the Parade resume in 1945 or in 1946?

11. The Parade was not televised in 1945 yet, was it?

12. Is the Parade held in bad weather?

13. Do you know who finishes the Parade?

14. Why does Santa appear at the end of the Parade?



Here we are, close to the Christmas section of the book.


A Christmas Prayer:

May the spirit of this season,

Harmony, Love, and Understanding

become a way of life,

and may the coming year bring

Hope and Peace to all mankind.