Reading test: Thanksgiving Day

For the question 1-5 chose the correct answer.
Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations have been held throughout the world for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks held a three-day festival every autumn to honor Demeter, their goddess of grain. The Romans also held a fall festival honoring their goddess of corn, Ceres. This celebration included music, games, parades and a thanksgiving feast. The ancient Egyptians honored their god of vegetation, Min, with a harvest festival as well. Like the Romans, the Egyptians partied with music, dancing and sports.

The ancient Chinese celebrated a harvest festival called Chung Ch’ui. This holiday fell on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar. Still today, Chinese all over the world remember this special festival by baking round, yellow “moon” cakes to symbolize the beautiful, full moon. The autumn festival of Sukkoth, celebrated by the ancient Hebrew people, is still celebrated today by Jewish families around the world. Sukkoth is named for the huts or succots that people lived in as they wandered through the desert. These small huts were built of branches and could be easily put together and taken apart. Today many Jewish families build symbolic huts and decorate them with fruit and vegetables and eat their evening meal under the stars, remembering their ancestors’ harvest celebrations of long ago.

Thanksgiving ceremonies were held in North America by the Native people long before the arrival of European settlers. Like other cultures around the world, the Natives showed thanks for their harvests by singing, dancing and praying. The American thanksgiving holiday that we know today began in the early days of the American colonies almost four hundred years ago. In 1620, a group of about 100 people left England looking for religious freedom and a better life in America. This group of people, called the Pilgrims, had wanted to separate from the Church of England and start their own church in the New World. When they arrived, their first winter was very difficult and many of them died from starvation and disease.

The following year, a group of Native Americans began to teach the settlers many things about survival in their new land. They taught them how to grow corn and other crops in the unfamiliar soil, how to collect sap from the maple trees to make syrup, how to gather wild rice and collect berries. They also taught them how to fish and hunt. In 1621 the Pilgrims had a very successful harvest and they were able to put away food for the long winter ahead. That year the colonists had a lot to be thankful for, so they planned a large feast and celebrated for three days. They invited the Natives to their celebration because they had taught them so much about how to live in America. In the following years, the colonists continued to celebrate their harvest with a feast of thanks. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. Although the original thanksgiving feast occurred sometime in late October, now Americans celebrate the fourth Thursday in November as they’re of special day of thanksgiving.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. It is a day to stop working and to give thanks for one’s life, health, family, food, and freedom. Some people spend time praying in their churches while others spend a day of relaxing at home. Most families share a festive meal together with traditional dishes such as turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash or turnips, cranberry sauce and of course, the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert.