mercredi 26 novembre 2008


A turkey named Pumpkin gave thanks to President Bush for saving his life on the day before Thanksgiving. Honoring a 61-year-old tradition, the President pardoned the bird on Thanksgiving eve.

"This is my final Thanksgiving as the President," Bush said during a special ceremony at the White House. "Over the past eight years I have been given many reasons to be thankful," he said. "Most of all I thank the American people for the tremendous privilege of serving as the President."

A Turkey Tradition

The tradition of a turkey pardon at Thanksgiving began with President Truman in 1947. Pumpkin comes from Ellsworth, Iowa. The name Pumpkin was chosen by voters who took part in a poll posted on the White House website. The lucky turkey squatted on the lawn of the Rose Garden and posed for the cameras at the presidential podium.

The History Behind the Holiday
The feast that has become known as the First Thanksgiving was actually a harvest festival celebrated in December of 1621. That's when English settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts, gave thanks for the progress they had made after a harsh winter in their new country.

As America grew, Thanksgiving customs also spread and expanded. George Washington proclaimed that the first national Thanksgiving would be on November 26, 1789. In the decades to follow, however, people celebrated Thanksgiving locally, with no official date.

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November 1863 as a national day of Thanksgiving. It stayed that way until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved it one week earlier. He wanted to lengthen the shopping period before Christmas to encourage gift-buyers and to help businesses. So Congress ruled that, after 1941, Thanksgiving would be an official federal holiday falling each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

This year we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 27. Millions of Americans will get together to give thanks with friends and family. The lucky turkey, Pumpkin, will be one of them. After his pardon, Pumpkin and another turkey, Pecan, will fly first class to Disneyland Resort in California, where Pumpkin will be the grand marshal of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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