New Year's Day
On January first, Americans visit friends, relatives and neighbors. There is plenty to eat and drink. Many families and friends watch television together enjoying the Tournament of Roses parade (The Tournament of Roses Parade, better known as the Rose Parade, is "America's New Year Celebration" held in Pasadena, California, a festival of flower-covered floats). The parade was started in 1887, when a zoologist who had seen one in France suggested to the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena, California that they sponsor "an artistic celebration of the ripening of the oranges" at the beginning of the year. At first the parade was a line of decorated horse-drawn private carriages. Athletic events were held in the afternoon, and in the evening, a ball where winners of the events of the day and the most beautiful float were announced. In later years colleges began to compete in football games on New Year's Day, and these gradually replaced other athletic competitions. The parade of floats grew longer from year to year, and flower decorations grew more elaborate.
Today the parade is usually more than five miles long with thousands of participants in the marching bands and on the floats. The queen of the tournament rides on a special float which is always the most elaborate one of the parade, being made from more than 250,000 flowers. Preparation for next year's Tournament of Roses begins on January 2.
(Fourth Thursday in November)
Almost every culture in the world has held celebrations of thanks for a plentiful harvest. The American Thanksgiving holiday began as a feast of thanksgiving in the early days of the American colonies almost four hundred years ago.
In 1620, a boat filled with more than one hundred people sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. The Pilgrims ['pɪlgrɪm] settled in what is now the state of Massachusetts. Their first winter in the New World was difficult. They had arrived too late to grow many crops, and without fresh food, half the colony died from disease. The following spring the Iroquois Indians ʹırəkwɔı(z) taught them how to grow corn (maize), a new food for the colonists. They showed them other crops to grow in the unfamiliar soil and how to hunt and fish.
In the autumn of 1621, bountiful (обильный) crops of corn, barley (ячмень), beans and pumpkins were harvested. The colonists had much to be thankful for, so a feast was planned. They invited the local Indian chief and 90 Indians. The Indians brought deer to roast with the turkeys. The colonists had learned how to cook cranberries and different kinds of corn and squash dishes (блюда из тыквы) from the Indians.
In following years, many of the original colonists celebrated the autumn harvest with a feast of thanks. After the United States became an independent country, Congress recommended one yearly day of thanksgiving for the whole nation to celebrate. George Washington suggested the date November 26 as Thanksgiving Day. Then in 1863, at the end of a long and bloody civil war, Abraham Lincoln asked all Americans to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving
Symbols of Thanksgiving
Turkey, corn (or maize), pumpkins and cranberry sauce are symbols which represent the first Thanksgiving. Now all of these symbols are drawn on holiday decorations and greeting cards.
The use of corn meant the survival of the colonies.
Sweet-sour (кисло-сладкий) cranberry sauce, or cranberry jelly, was on the first Thanksgiving table and is still served today. The Indians used the fruit to treat infections. They used the juice to dye their rugs and blankets. They taught the colonists how to cook the berries with sweetener and water to make a sauce.
Until recently most schoolchildren believed that the Pilgrims cooked the entire Thanksgiving feast, and offered it to the Indians. In fact, the feast was planned to thank the Indians for teaching them how to cook those foods. Without the Indians, the first settlers would not have survived.