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Release date 09 Dec 2010


Thank you to the learners and educators at St Ignatius Loyola School in America







We learn from learners at St Ignatius Loyola School in America about Thanksgiving - a special day for Americans

How Saint Ignatius Loyola School Celebrates Thanksgiving
by Jean

As a School, we express how thankful we are for the many gifts God has granted each of us in prayer. Each class begins and ends everyday in prayer. During our prayers we remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be blessed with so many gifts. We also have a school Prayer Book that is openly displayed in our gymnasium alongside a statute of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Patron Saint of Catholic Schools. Students are freely invited to write their prayers, thoughts and reflections privately or openly in this precious book. During the season of Thanksgiving, students share some of the blessings in their life which include faith, family, school community, friends and food.

At home, each family has their own Thanksgiving traditions but many of us begin the day with Mass and end it with a bountiful dinner shared amongst family and friends. A typical Thanksgiving dinner may include turkey, bread stuffing (or as some in the south call it dressing), vegetables, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes. We, at Saint Ignatius Loyola, appreciate how lucky we are to have food to share with our family. Each year, as a school we collect canned goods for a local center that uses our goods to host a soup kitchen for less fortunate families in the community. We collect goods during each holiday so that others will be able to celebrate.

During this Holiday season, we wish you all a blessed New Year!


The history of Thanksgiving - by Margaret

PDF file - 78 KB

My Thanksgiving day - by Eva

PDF file - 48 KB

What my family and I do for Thanksgiving - by Sean

PDF file - 47 KB

What my family and I do for Thanksgiving - by Liam

PDF file - 40

Thanksgiving Menu - Bens Steak House

PDF - 193 KB

My Thanksgiving Menu - by Gianna

PDF - 51 KB


About Thanksgiving - by Caroline, a South African now living and teaching in America

It is held on the 4th Thursday in November.

Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England.

The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash.

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "Thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This was continued in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition. (Wikipedia)


Thanksgiving at Regis High School

At Regis on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving we do not have school. We have an obligatory High mass. I am part of the school’s Choir and we spend 4-5 weeks practicing beautiful music for Thanksgiving. Some of the boys have beautiful voices and many others play violin, cello, guitar and flute so we have our own musical ensemble. The mass begins at 9:30am and ends at about 11am and is very beautiful. After that the students are free to leave and school begins again on Tuesday of the next week as this is the end of the first Trimester.

Other than Thanksgiving day itself, most of us spend the weekend grading and calculating final grades. The Monday is not really a holiday but a grading day. Still it is a welcome break from a very busy school year that began in early September and this is the first break since then. We are required to have had at least 2 tests, 2 quizzes, multiple homework assignments and all of these need to be graded.

I have 200 students at this time. One of my colleagues in the Computer Department lost his father on Thanksgiving about 10 years ago and decided that the best way to get through the holiday was to give back to those in need. He heard of an event going on up in Harlem where a Thanksgiving meal was cooked and distributed to many people who would otherwise not get a Thanksgiving meal. He and his family decided to be a part of it. Various groups around the city undertake to bake one dish for the meal that Wednesday and then on the Thursday morning the meal is co-ordinated and served up in Harlem. Our dish is the Sweet potato bake.

Every year we now get 50 or so students who voluntarily stay behind on the Wednesday, after the mass, and help to prepare and bake the sweet potato dish. All the ingredients are donated by the parents. We also collect blankets which are used to keep the food warm in transit to the venue. They are distributed to the people after the event. The potato dish consists of sweet potato, nuts apples, onions and glaze.

The boys love bashing nuts to shred them and for some of them it is their first time chopping apples and onions. The Faculty are there to supervise and guide. Once the dish is ready it has to been baked in the oven and then is kept, to be heated again on Thanksgiving morning. The boys then help with washing the dishes, cleaning the tables and sweeping the floors. All this is done in our cafeteria. At the same event we have a team of boys who help with wrapping Xmas gifts which are distributed to needy boys and girls.

All this ends at about 5pm and we then leave for the Thanksgiving weekend, comfortable in the knowledge that we have helped someone else, before we help ourselves. The next morning my colleague and a few helpers heat up the dishes of potato. They then head uptown to the distribution centre. All the other venues deliver dishes of food up there too and thus a complete meal is created. The people line up to get food from the many volunteers who give up their time to distribute it.


My thoughts on Thanksgiving - What Thanksgiving means to me

I have found this to be a wonderful feast. At first I did not really feel a part of it but as I have become more American it has come to be a very meaningful day for me.

I have been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends almost every year which has been wonderful. My first Thanksgiving in the USA I was invited to friends that I had just met. Surprisingly they had obviously never cooked a turkey before, I know this now because when we got there they had not even begun to cook the turkey and it was 6pm. Needless to say we ate starters and drank and by 11pm there was still no sign of any turkey and I had to leave as I had a train to catch.

The next year I went to the house of a friend I had met since. They live in Rocklandcounty about an hour north of New York City and we had the Turkey, cranberry sauce peas, sweet potatoes (yams) and many delicious desserts. Pumpkin pie is a tradition at Thanksgiving. The sweet potatoes (yams) are an orange color and are delicious. I was not familiar with them before I came to the USA. For the last few years I have been going to my friends in Long Island and they cook a delicious meal. They have so many desserts one could not possible eat all of them.

Most Americans start the meal with each person listing things they are grateful for.

I am grateful for so many things:

  • Abundant Food

  • Abundant literature to read

  • My safety

  • My new friends

  • My great job

  • Being an American

  • Being a part of this great world in good times and bad

  • My religion which sustains me

  • An Abundance of beautiful music

  • All loving animals

The Morning of Thanksgiving in New York City

This is the time when New York city hosts the Thanksgiving Parade. It is produced by Macy’s and begins at 9am and people come from all over just to be there. Most people eat dinner at 4 or 5pm and so they have plenty of time to get back after the parade.

People line up to get places from 6:30 am. I am sure that mother is glad to gets the kids out of the house with Dad, so that she can cook in peace and quiet. I love this holiday as there are no gifts required, it has no religious overtones so that everyone from all walks of life can enjoy it. It is a truly American holiday. On this day families travel miles to be with each other it is the biggest travel day of the year in the USA.

By Christmas most people eat anything other than turkey. Most people eat the Thanksgiving meal around 4 or 5pm. There are some interesting ways to cook turkey that I had never heard of. One of them is a Turducken. It is a deboned chicken, inside of a deboned duck inside of a deboned turkey. Other people deep fry the turkey.




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Date of update: 27 January 2011            Individual page updates:
27 January 2011