1. Thanksgiving

Transcript item

Jo: Hi, everybody. Welcome. I'm Jo and I'm here with Kirk today to talk about Thanksgiving. So, Kirk, we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, so I don't know much about it. Can you tell us? What's it all about?

Kirk: Well, it's an important holiday in the US, and in Canada as well, and it's always the fourth Thursday of November and it's a time when you get together with family and friends and share a big meal together, and the idea behind it is being thankful for all the things that you have, basically, and the people that you're with.

Jo: Right, OK. And tell us more about the dinner. What's the traditional food? 

Kirk: Well, the centrepiece is traditionally a stuffed turkey – a turkey stuffed with spiced bread. There's lots of other dishes that are typical, like mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, roast vegetables, erm, there really is a lot of freedom there, but the centrepiece is usually the turkey.

Jo: Mmm, I could honestly eat that right now! So, this is a tradition that you've actually exported from the United States to where you live now in Spain, is that right?

Kirk: That's right. Yeah, we celebrate every year. Occasionally we've had family make the trip over from the US, we've had family from around here, but mostly lots of friends, some of them American, some of them from here, some of them from other places, and, yeah, we do it every year. It's a good time.

Jo: Lucky friends. And what's your record for the number of people you've cooked for?

Kirk: Oh, yeah, we had 27 or 28 people a few years ago.

Jo: Wow. Wow!

Kirk: Yeah. It was a lot of work, but it was a great time. 

Jo: Yeah, OK, so that is a lot of people coming together and it's all about eating food, sharing together and celebrating people.

Kirk: Exactly.

Jo: And things. The good things in life.

Kirk: Exactly. Appreciating the people that you have in your life and all of that.

Jo: OK. OK, thank you so much for telling us about Thanksgiving. I'll speak to you later on. Thanks, Kirk.

Kirk: All right. Thank you.


Thanksgiving is a big national holiday in the US and Canada. In this video, Jo talks to Kirk about how Thanksgiving is celebrated. Watch the video to find out what it's all about.

Thanksgiving today

As you heard in the video, Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday in November in the US. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. For most Americans and Canadians, it is a day for coming together with family and friends to share a large meal. The idea is to spend time with loved ones and to feel thankful for the people and good things in our lives. In many households there is a tradition of everyone sharing what they are most grateful for.

Thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving is also about food. As Kirk mentioned, the dinner traditionally includes roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and, for dessert, apple, pumpkin or pecan pies. Every family has its own recipes, sometimes secret recipes handed down through generations. Turkey, a bird native to North America, is the unofficial mascot of Thanksgiving, with roast turkey on the menu and turkey decorations on the wall. 

If you want to read more, check out the Thanksgiving page in our Magazine.

Over to you

  • Have you learned anything new about Thanksgiving from the video?
  • Would you enjoy cooking Thanksgiving food for people as they do in Kirk's house? Why or why not?


Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Submitted by hkawwu on Sun, 01/01/2023 - 23:46


In Myanmar, Thanksgiving is not official holiday. This only celebrate among the Christian families and normally, we celebrate any of the weekend in November depends on the Church administration. We decorate with rice, rice plants and many kinds of vegetables, that produced from our farms, in the Church. From this video I have learnt about Thanksgiving holiday is different in USA and Canada.

actually, we do not have any celebrations the same as the one that has been mentioned.
But I think that it is a nice celebration.

Hi @mr.bunny,

What sort of celebrations do you have in India and which one do you like the best?

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by legend1212 on Wed, 28/12/2022 - 05:41


Hi there,
actually, we do not have any celebrations the same as the one that has been mentioned.
But I think that it is a nice celebration.
Haroon Parsa,

Submitted by MUNEER22 on Thu, 22/12/2022 - 08:30


Hi everyone, glad to be here to learn from you.
I am from Saudi Arabia.

Submitted by thiago93zzz on Wed, 21/12/2022 - 13:00


Hi I’m Santiago from Colombia, and here is very common to see people sharing wine and cookies on the neighborhood streets, also the families join together to pray the “novena” which is like a day pray over 9 days before the Jesus born, furthermore the people here usually eats sucking pig stuffed with rice and pig meat.

I love the idea of sharing wine and cookies with your neighbours @thiago93zzz. Are they homemade cookies or a special type especially for this time of year? I'd love to see a picture if you have one!
Have a lovely Christmas with your family and friends.

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by ivantabora01 on Tue, 20/12/2022 - 17:31


In Honduras dont celebrate Thanksgiving and we dont have a similar celebration neither but si think that celebration is very beautiful

Submitted by Abdallah Mo on Sun, 18/12/2022 - 10:21


Haven't heard it before. Nice topic though.

Werther you have specific day for it or not, thanksgiving is really very important to show others how you are appreciated by the good things they have done/do for you and for others too. It encourages people to keep up the good thing they do.
Although I don't know how to cook, I would really like to have such event, to at least have a good time with my loved ones.

Submitted by salahadelsuleman on Thu, 15/12/2022 - 16:29


Hi I am Salah, I am from Jordan but I living at sea because I’m seaman, here we have another celebration called seaman day, it’s great day for seaman, in this day there is special preparations, first of all we have to prepare dining table, it has sea view and some stars in sky, and our dinner is all kinds of fish.

Hi there Salah!

I really enjoyed reading your comment! The Seaman Day sounds lovely, especially the dinner under the stars with a beautiful sea view, and eating freshly prepared fish! Is it the same date every year?
~ Tinaツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by hala90 on Wed, 14/12/2022 - 11:58


Nice object

Hi @hala90,

I'm glad you enjoyed the subject of Thanksgiving. Do you have a traditional celebration that you do every year? We'd love to hear about it!

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Joao Henrique on Mon, 12/12/2022 - 14:02


Hi I'm from Brazil, I'm 18 years old, I loved watching this video, I knew thanksgiving from movies and television series, every time I watch it makes me think that such attitudes can improve the world we live in and make this home more enjoyable, thanksgiving can do that in the blink of an eye.

Hi Joao Henrique,

That's really nice to hear -- thanks!

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by FatimaVS on Sat, 10/12/2022 - 12:49


Hello! I am Fatima from Spain. I love hearing about celebrations! It makes everybody happy and i find this is something people neet hearing today... finding more reasons to feel happy. For me God is my special reason to be happy and He inspires also celebrations like this.. Thanksgiving Day! Thanks for sharing your joy!

Submitted by marko17 on Fri, 09/12/2022 - 07:51


Hello,I am from Serbia.I heard about this holiday in US by watching movies long ago.I think,for a first time I watched in Rocky movie in 80s when big boxing match between Rocky and Creed was scheduled wright on Thanksgiving day in Philadelphia.This masterpiece became motivation worldwide.When we talk about turkey,it is always interesting for me that word has same meaning,it can be food or it can be big state in Euroasia .Greetings from Belgrade,Serbia.

The subject of Thanksgiving is crucial, in my opinion. It also increases our awareness of our death. In other words, if benevolence and shared ideals unite individuals, the world will be a better place. If you are a good listener and just enquire about the sentiments of your friends, family members, neighbors, etc., you could do a lot to improve the well-being of others. You are free to do it in the way of prayer if you'd like. Sharing meals together is akin to having shared objectives.

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Submitted by zaakparamban on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 07:36


I am sakkariya From India, I knew about Thanks giving Celebration form this vedio, and it is intersting celebration that celebrated in US and Canada,similier celibration not seen in India.
Thanks Giving occation is all about reuniting the friends and family. that is good idea to enjoy some plesure momment with friends.

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Submitted by halema on Tue, 06/12/2022 - 17:32


I'm from Saudi Arabia .In my country we have been celebrating with two occasion Eid adha and Fiter . We've been meeting with our family ,neighbours and friends . We're celebrate for 3 days ,visiting each other and do many activities .In my Western region we have our traditional dessert it called Debyaza

Submitted by RubiJJ on Tue, 06/12/2022 - 16:42


Hello everyone,

Well, in this lesson I´ve learned when this holiday is celebrated in the US and also in Canada. I´ll love to cook Thanksgiving food, maybe not for 27 people, but for a few friends for sure.

Rubí, from Mexico.

Hi Rubí,

If you do it one day, let us know how it goes! I'd love to hear about it.

LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Terego on Mon, 05/12/2022 - 13:17


Hello everyone
In my country, Chile, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, personally I think it's a wonderful idea to "give thanks" once a year, for everything we have or for our achievements.
Personally I spend Christmas day to give thanks, and meet with my loved ones.

Submitted by abolfazl1383 on Sat, 03/12/2022 - 12:21


Iranian people have ceremony exact like thanksgiving that name is noroz. they cook a big meal and also visit each other and maybe go together i really enjoy and admire about it . I suggest you to read about it.

Hello abolfazl1383,

I would love to be in Iran one day for Nowruz! We have a Magazine article about Nowruz if you or anyone else reading this comment are interested in reading about it in English.

And if you're interested in reading about traditions from a variety of cultures, hundreds of our users have written about their favourite traditions on our A class forum Writing skills page.

Best wishes -- Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Youssef Karfouh on Fri, 02/12/2022 - 23:00


I really loved the accent of Jo , it's really nice .
I'm actually enjoying the english learning journey with you guys.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart for all what you doing for free

Submitted by stevenpetriz19 on Thu, 01/12/2022 - 01:14


Have you learned anything new about Thanksgiving from the video? Actually yes, i didn´t know Canada celebrated this holiday, and I´ve never hearded all the traditional food (just Turkey).

Would you enjoy cooking Thanksgiving food for people as they do in Kirk's house? Why or why not? Ilove cooking, and share this activity with my family and friends is always a good idea, especially if we have the opportunity to stay together and remerber all the good things happened to us. To be thankful about every thing in our lives is a thing we need to practice all over the world.

Hi stevenpetriz19,

I like cooking with other people as well. It's fun to work together and cook something tasty, and enjoy a nice chat at the same time :D


LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by adailsonaguiar on Thu, 01/12/2022 - 00:23


Hi! I live in Brazil. here Thanksgiving is not a commemorative date. A date that we use to get together in family is on Merry Christmas

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Submitted by ALEJA230981 on Tue, 29/11/2022 - 12:48


well , I already know about this North America custom , because my old sister lives in Canada. I am from Colombia , and here are a few families that celebreate it , but is not a South America custom. I think that is important to give thanks for all good things and blessing in our life every day.

Hi @ALEJA230981 😊,

Have you ever been to Canada? I'd love to go and it's on my 'bucket list' so hopefully I'll get there one day. Does your sister now celebrate Thanksgiving?
I love your last sentence ... thanks for sharing it with us.

~ Tina 
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by ore on Sat, 26/11/2022 - 14:03


Hello, I'm from Peru and my country is unusually celebrate this event. In few words this celebrity day not existing but I knew that thanksgiving holiday is a celebrate in USA for the series an movies and I like it because I see it a day is very very peacefull with family and friends.

Hi @ore 😊

Do you have a similar national holiday in Peru where all the family come together and share a big meal? We like to do this at Christmastime and also at Easter, and occasionally on 'special' birthdays or anniversaries. I recently went away for a weekend with my husband's family to celebrate his sisters' 60th birthday. There were 18 of us, with the youngest being 5 years old and the eldest at 85. It was brilliant to be altogether and very noisy too! 😊
~ Tina 
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by srknshn on Sat, 26/11/2022 - 11:43


1- I already knew that it is an important holiday in the US and Canada but i learned from the video that they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK.
2- I don't like cooking but people where i live cook 12 different meals for Thanksgiving and they have an empity plate on the table. they always celebrate Thanksgiving on Decemcer 24th.

Submitted by nunesspaulaa on Fri, 25/11/2022 - 12:29


I only knew the thanksgiving holiday from the movies and series and I always thought it was really cool to have a day to be grateful for everything that happened in the year, it's important to always be grateful!

I would love it, it's great to spend time with people you care about, it would be so much fun to cook with them too

in our culture thanksgiving food was traditionally practiced, especially, is served when you receive visitors -whether they are friends, family, or workmates- in our home. and normally, is different from the normal food which the family cooked daily bases.
the component of thanksgiving food in our Somali culture mostly contains; Rice, meat, vegetables, camel milk, or pasta, milk, vegetables, meat, etc.

I'm glad to see you participated, Paula! You know what I like about Thanksgiving is also the season of the year in the Northern Hemisphere: the colours of the leaves, the trees, the cold.

Submitted by May Thin Khine on Fri, 25/11/2022 - 03:34


1. When it comes to Thanksgiving day, I see roast turkey and getting together with family and friends. In this video, I learned about the day thanksgiving is celebrated and the new recipes such as cranberry and pecan pies.

2. I am sure that I would enjoy it because the food is much better when we prepare and eat together.

Hi May! 

That's a really nice comment. Thank you! I agree that food tastes better when it's prepared and eaten together.


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by dienifer on Thu, 24/11/2022 - 23:57


-Have you learned anything new about Thanksgiving from the video?
I knew Thanksgiving only from movies and watching the video it seems that the holiday is well portrayed by them.

-Would you enjoy cooking Thanksgiving food for people as they do in Kirk's house? Why or why not?
It would be nice to have this holiday here in Brazil, but I wouldn't want to cook because I don't know how to do that for many people.

Nice comment, Dienifer! I wouldn't know how to cook for the whole family, but i like the idea of everytbody getting together.

Submitted by LluísLL on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 13:51


No, too much work. And i do'nt like turkey. Too dry.

Hi @LluísLL,

Roasting the turkey actually isn't much work -- it just needs the right preparation and a long roasting time, and then it comes out very tender. I hope you'll try it again one day.

The rest of the dishes do take some work!

LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I am FA from Australia. I have a friend who lives in the USA and she always told me about Thanksgiving and how they celebrate it. However, by watching this video I learnt that this day is celebrated at the fourth Thursday of Nov.