we are back at our condo and ready to watch Monday Night Football. It has been a full day and the only thing missing was all of you and Mrs. Yates. Please tell her I said “hello” and that I miss her too!!
Now it is time for me to give you your daily activity. I’m having fun while all of you are getting smarter everyday.
Read the passage and then answer the questions on another piece of paper. If you don’t finish in class you can do this at home. It really won’t take that long.
Most Americans know all about our Thanksgiving history and traditions, but did you know that many different countries and cultures have similar ways of giving thanks? Here are just a few of the ways that people around the world have shown their gratitude.
Each fall, the ancient Greeks held the three-day Festival of Thesmosphoria, which they dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of grains. This festival, though, was not as celebratory as the festivals we know today. It began with Anodos, the ascent. On this day, married women climbed a hill and built leafy shelters, where they slept. The second day was dedicated to the Nesteia, or the fast, during which the women did not eat in order to make themselves pure. On the third day, the Kalligeneia, the Greeks had a feast, and they offered gifts of seed, cakes, fruit, and pigs to Demeter. They hoped that Demeter would be grateful enough to give them a good harvest that year.
The ancient Egyptians held their harvest festival in the spring since that was the time when they reaped their crops. Like the Greeks, the Egyptians honored a god who they believed was responsible for the well-being of their harvest. To give thanks to Min, the god of vegetation and fertility, the Egyptians had a parade and a feast—sound familiar?
Not to be outdone at anything, the ancient Romans had a fall harvest festival called Cerelia to honor Ceres, the goddess of corn. (If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the word “cereal” came from this particular deity!) The Romans offered the first fruits of the harvest to Ceres, but they also knew how to have a good time. The day included parades, games, sports, and of course, a feast. What would a festival be without a feast?
WE’RE STILL GIVING THANKS
Like those ancient civilizations, the American settlers of 1621 celebrated Thanksgiving to give thanks for a good harvest (which had been successful only with the help of the Native Americans). Still, Thanksgiving did not become an official holiday until President Lincoln made it so in 1863. The U.S. was in the midst of its bloody civil war; Lincoln wanted to remind Americans to be thankful for what they did have. He wrote that “the year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies
Other nations also take time out to give thanks and celebrate autumn.
Canada celebrated its first Thanksgiving in 1872, after the Prince of Wales recovered from an illness. Remember— at that time, Canada was a part of the British Empire. Canada’s Thanksgiving is a lot like our own with families coming together and even eating turkey, only it takes place on the second Monday in October.
Jewish people around the world celebrate Sukkot in autumn. During this eight-day harvest celebration, each family builds an outside tent called a sukkah. They decorate it with leaves and branches and place tables inside. Families use the sukkah to eat, pray, and give thanks to God.
In the southern Indian state of Kerala, people celebrate the harvest festival of Onam. During the festival, people give thanks for what they have and remember others by delivering food to the needy. They also decorate their homes with flowers and watch elaborate fireworks displays.
Lithuanians make sure they have a good harvest each year by creating a boba (the Lithuanian word for “old woman”). The boba is molded into a doll shape from the last sheaf of grain at harvest time. Each family keeps the boba until spring in the hopes that she will keep the spirit of the crop alive until replanting the following season.
China’s autumn festival is not a thanksgiving, but it celebrates the bright harvest moon. It is called Zhong Qui, or the Festival of the Autumn Moon, and it takes place in September, when the moon is at its brightest. During this time, the people honor the Moon Goddess with mooncakes, traditional pastries that can have many different kinds of ingredients. In the evening, children take part in parades that feature colored lanterns.
***Answer these questions on a separate piece of paper. Use letter answers only.
1. Which event prompted the writing of this article?
A. The start of a new year in the Jewish tradition
B. The appearance of the brightest moon of the year
C. The approach of Thanksgiving in the United States
D. The end of a harvest in ancient Greece
2. What would you expect an Indian family to do after it gives thanks for what it has in the harvest?
A. It would remember others by delivering food to the needy.
B. It would decorate a tent with leaves and place tables inside.
C. It would celebrate with a parade and colored lanterns.
D. It would give the children dolls called bobas to celebrate with.
3. Which is an expression of someone’s personal opinion?
A. Thanksgiving in the United States has more meaning than that in Canada.
B. They decorate it with leaves and branches, place tables inside, and offer thanks.
C. The family keeps the boba until spring so that she will keep the spirit of the crop alive.
D. China’s autumn festival is not a thanksgiving, but it celebrates the bright harvest moon.
4. You can figure that the word deity refers to a . . .
A. God or goddess
B. Harvest moon
C. Festival with mooncakes
D. Parade with lanterns
5. Many cultures show their gratitude every autumn. What is a synonym for the word gratitude?
6. The topic sentence for one of the paragraphs is, “Jewish people around the world celebrate Sukkot in autumn.” Which sentence would not logically belong in that paragraph?
A. Families use the sukkah to eat, pray, and give thanks to God.
B. Each family builds an outside tent called a sukkah.
C. In autumn, families come together and even eat turkey.
D. The festival goes on for eight days.
7. After reading this article, you can predict that there will probably be another article written about . . .
A. Why the Lithuanians bring in the harvest with a boba
B. How countries around the world ring in a new year
C. How the people of China spread thanks around the world
D. Why some countries frown upon a holiday for giving thanks
8. Which of the following is the best explanation for why we celebrate Thanksgiving in the month of November?
A..We didn’t want our Thanksgiving to fall at the same time as Canadian Thanksgiving.
B. In the United States, we don’t reap our harvests until the end of November.
C. Holidays at other times of the year tend to be more solemn than Thanksgiving.
D. It started with Lincoln, and it was held as “the year that is drawing towards its close . . .”
OK, that’s about it for today (except don’t forget about Acuity Custom Tests). Only two more days until Thanksgiving and time for celebration, thanks, rest, and fun. Tell Mrs. Martin what a great job she is doing because I know she is. Also, tell Mrs. Jones I said “hello” too. I didn’t get many comments so I will look forward to some tomorrow.