Samstag, 19.Dezember 2015 Kategorie: Insights

Frohe Festtage auf Amerikanisch

A season of giving thanks and gifts

"Christmas cake, Boxing Day 2008" by SMC at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -,_Boxing_Day_2008.jpg#/media/File:Christmas_cake,_Boxing_Day_2008.jpg

Americans are adherents of many faiths, and the U.S. winter holiday season embraces that diversity.

Thanksgiving, observed on the fourth Thursday in November, marks the official start of the season. It’s a day for catching up with far-flung family members, sharing traditional American foods and taking a break from hectic work schedules. Each year, millions of Americans travel thousands of kilometers to sit down with family and friends for a meal that usually includes roast turkey, with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is also a day when thousands of Americans volunteer to help the needy. There are special food drives for homeless shelters, and Angel trees (Christmas trees that are decorated with gifts for poor children), toy baskets for orphanages, or winter clothing drives. "Secret Santas" giving money for

Thanksgiving also marks the holiday shopping season, starting with “Black Friday” an enormous sale day which takes place in stores across the country. People queue-up hours or even a full day or two in advance to take advantage of bargains.

On Christmas, most Americans, including non-Christians, exchange gifts, such as homemade cookies and other baked treats. In many U.S. cities, Christmas carolers stroll residential neighborhoods or gather in public squares, singing traditional carols and spreading cheer.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which falls in late November to late December is celebrated over a period of eight nights and days and observed by kindling the lights on a nine-branched candelabrum called a menorah.

Honoring family, community and culture are at the heart of Kwanzaa, which families observe by decorating their homes with African-inspired art, African kente cloth and fruits that symbolize African idealism. Ceremonies may include drumming, musical performances and a candle-lighting ritual, culminating in a feast known as karamu.

Today, many African-American families celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas.

The U.S. winter holiday season concludes with New Year’s celebrations. Americans — like millions around the world — herald the new year as a time for fresh beginnings, with hope for a better future and resolutions to improve one’s behavior.

On New Year’s Eve, Americans host parties and attend concerts, fireworks displays and other special gatherings. Festivities differ from place to place, with regional variations on well-known customs.

In a tradition that dates from 1907, New Yorkers famously count down to the midnight hour in Times Square, where thousands congregate to watch a crystal ball drop from the sky at the appointed hour. Millions of Americans nationwide watch the televised countdown.

EducationUSA wishes you a happy, peaceful, and joyous holiday season.

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