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The basics
THE USA: Once you arrive

'Thanksgiving? Yes please!': Thanksgiving in the US

Amro, an Iowa State University international student, shares his Thanksgiving weekend experience including turkey, football and Black Friday...

Thanksgiving in the US

‘To anybody outside of the United States, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word ‘Thanksgiving’ is turkey and shopping discounts; thanks to movies and TV shows! However, Thanksgiving is much more than that. It is one of those things that you don’t understand its significance until you actually go through it yourself. Luckily for me, I had the full Thanksgiving experience this year.

Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, is a national holiday in the United States. Historically, the holiday first started 1621. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims, or the early settlers in America, after their first successful harvest. The celebrations included a giant feast and prayers of thanks to God for their military victory and the end of the drought. Since then, “Turkey Day” has become one of the biggest holidays in America where people come together over big turkey feasts with their family while being thankful for what they have.

This year, I decided to spend Thanksgiving with some family I have here in the United States. I packed my bags and headed to the airport only to find out just how crowded it was. Of course, this was part of the Thanksgiving experience, as it was thought of as the busiest time of the year for travelers.  With a few delays here and there, I finally made it to my destination. On Wednesday, the night before the big feast, I met up with my uncle and the rest of the family members. It was quite refreshing being able to speak my language again with them. We caught up, enjoyed a nice dinner, but it was time to go back and get a good sleep before the big day.

It was finally Thursday and I was extremely excited. It was one of those things that you’ve seen so often on television that you couldn’t wait to see for yourself. But I was about to; we put on our nice clothes and headed out to the big lunch. I arrived there with my cousin only to find another 30 or such people inside our aunt’s house. Everybody was talking about how they haven’t had food since the night before just because they wanted to eat a little more turkey. I thought to myself, “Okay, it can’t be THAT good.” I was wrong. After my first plate of turkey, stuffing, and gravy I knew I had to go for seconds. I would have gone for a third plate but I had to leave some space for dessert, of course!

After we have recovered from that delicious meal, we all sat together: some watching football, some playing cards, while others just socialized. It was a great time to catch up with my family members and meet the few that I hadn’t before. A couple hours later we went to the theatres to watch a movie. It was a great way to end the night, but not quite the end of the Thanksgiving festivities.

The next morning called for some shopping time. It was Black Friday, where all the shops have made crazy discounts and all the people were fighting over the items that they needed. I have always liked Black Friday. Watching people wait in long lines in movies just made it seem that much more valuable when they actually got what they were looking for. And it was true, I left that day feeling like a champion with all the things that I’ve bought for much cheaper than I would have bought them any other day.

Unfortunately, the weekend came to an end and it was time for me to head back to college. My first Thanksgiving was such a great experience that I will never forget. I was grateful for spending such an amazing time with uncle and cousins and was looking forward to next Thanksgiving already!

Study in the USA


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