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“Thanksgiving Day”



Pre-Listening Question

  1. Cultural Comparisons:

    • Begin by discussing holidays in your own culture or country. What are some significant celebrations or observances? How do people typically celebrate these occasions? Are there any similarities or differences between your cultural celebrations and Thanksgiving Day as described in the introduction? Encourage participants to share their perspectives on the importance of holidays and the activities involved.
  2. Food Traditions:

    • Explore the significance of food in different cultures and holidays. Ask participants to share traditional dishes or meals associated with important celebrations in their culture. Discuss the role of food in bringing people together during festive occasions. Compare these traditions with the Thanksgiving Day food mentioned in the interview. Are there any similarities or differences? How does food contribute to the overall atmosphere of a celebration?
  3. Historical Significance:

    • Discuss the historical background of holidays in various cultures, including Thanksgiving Day. Ask participants if they are familiar with the historical origins of holidays celebrated in their country. Encourage them to share interesting historical facts or stories related to celebrations. Consider comparing the historical significance of Thanksgiving Day in the United States with other holidays that have historical roots. This activity aims to explore the cultural and historical context of holidays.
  4. Family and Gathering:

    • Focus on the theme of family and gatherings during holidays. Participants can share their experiences of family gatherings during festive seasons. Discuss the importance of spending time with family and friends during holidays. Explore the concept of “Friendsgiving” mentioned in the interview and ask if participants have similar traditions in their culture. How do different cultures emphasize the value of relationships and togetherness during festive times?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

stuff your face (expression): eat a lot
– My brother stuffed his face with five pieces of pumpkin pie.

stuffing (noun): a mixture of chopped vegetables, seasonings, and breadcrumbs that is often prepared and served along with turkey at Thanksgiving
– I really enjoyed the flavor of the stuffing this year. Who made it?

disgusting (adjective): extremely unpleasant
– Someone forgot to put the turkey in the refrigerator, and it sat out for three days. The smell was disgusting.

extended family (noun): a family beyond parents and children, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives
– We invited members of the extended family to join us for dinner.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Aubrey, let us talk about Thanksgiving Day, which is observed on the fourth Thursday of November. Can you think about what people do? What is the general purpose of this particular day and so forth?

Aubrey: Yeah, I think it’s important to note, though, before we go any further, that that observance day is for the United States. In Canada, it is observed in October. Okay.

Randall: So let’s talk about Thanksgiving Day. Just generally, what is its purpose and how do people celebrate it? What do they eat? What do they do?

Aubrey: Yeah. So Thanksgiving Day is a day to stuff your face with food and watch football. That’s that’s my understanding of this holiday. And I guess you can also be thankful for things as well and be grateful for good things. But yes, food and football seem to be the thing.

Randall: And when I go back, if we talk about the historical significance, there’s a lot regarding it. And I would encourage people to take a look online. They can find more information, but it’s really goes back hundreds of years is a day to remember the things for which we are thankful. You mentioned about food and when we talk about food, what are some of the, well, I don’t know if you could say traditional foods because I think there are regional varieties, uh, regional foods that people eat. But what would be perhaps some typical ones?

Aubrey: Yeah. So Turkey is obviously the big one. You have a roast turkey,

Randall: Okay.

Aubrey: Um, with stuffing, which may or may not be made actually in the turkey. Mashed potatoes. That’s a pretty normal one. Some places have yams, green bean casserole, which is disgusting. Uh, rolls. And then you’ve got your good old American pumpkin pie.

Randall: Right.

Aubrey: I, I mean, it’s a it’s a really weird concept. You’re going to take this squash thing. And then make it sweet and put it in a pie. Like that seems dumb, but it’s delicious.

Randall: And who usually gets together for Thanksgiving? At least in our family, depending on the year, of course.

Aubrey: So, yeah, like you said, it’s usually a family gathering, you know, a gathering of friends over Thanksgiving time. It’s called a friendsgiving. Yeah. We have like our extended family. Uh, with us it’s usually mom’s family because a lot of your family lives out of state. But yeah, friends, family, hang out. Uh, we never really watched football, but that’s a thing.

Randall: It is a real big thing, not only for people to watch football, but often when you go out I know I’ve gone out running in the afternoon. A lot of people are playing football with their family members at a park or in a big field. Certainly a day to relax and enjoy, and as you said, stuff your face.

Aubrey: Now, to be clear, people outside of the United States, when we say football, we don’t mean that game that’s played with your feet. We mean the game where you run around and tackle people kind of like rugby, except with armor.

Randall: Well, thank you, Aubrey, for sharing your thoughts on Thanksgiving Day.

Conversation Questions


  1. Understanding the Basics:

    • What is the main purpose of Thanksgiving Day, according to Aubrey?
    • When is Thanksgiving Day observed in the United States?
  2. Food and Celebration:

    • Can you name three traditional foods mentioned in the interview that are commonly associated with Thanksgiving?
    • How does Aubrey describe the American pumpkin pie?


  1. Cultural Awareness:

    • How does Thanksgiving Day differ in its observance between the United States and Canada, according to the conversation?
  2. Historical Significance:

    • According to Randall, what is the historical significance of Thanksgiving Day, and how far back does it date?
    • How does the historical background of Thanksgiving contribute to its modern-day celebration?
  3. Family and Gathering:

    • Describe the types of gatherings Aubrey mentions during Thanksgiving. Who typically gets together, and what are some common activities?
    • How does Aubrey and Randall’s family celebrate Thanksgiving, and what role does football play in their traditions?


  1. Critical Thinking – Food Choices:

    • Aubrey mentions regional variations in Thanksgiving food. How do you think regional differences in food reflect cultural diversity in the United States?
    • In your opinion, how might cultural and regional diversity impact the way holidays are celebrated and the foods that are traditionally consumed?
  2. Comparative Cultural Analysis:

    • Compare Thanksgiving to a significant holiday in your own culture. What similarities and differences do you see in the way holidays are celebrated, the importance of family, and the types of food consumed?
    • How might cultural values and historical events shape the way holidays are observed in different societies?
  3. Language Nuances:

    • Randall clarifies the meaning of “football” in the conversation. Discuss the challenges and importance of language clarification when discussing cultural topics. Can you think of other instances where cultural references might require clarification in cross-cultural communication?
    • Explore the concept of “Friendsgiving.” How does the language used in creating new terms for celebrations reflect evolving cultural practices?

Thanksgiving Trivia Game

Use these questions as part of a trivia game to build understanding and awareness of Thanksgiving:

General Thanksgiving Questions with Multiple-Choice Options:

  1. What year was the first Thanksgiving celebration believed to have taken place in the United States?

    • A) 1492
    • B) 1621
    • C) 1776
    • D) 1863
  2. Which president officially established Thanksgiving as a national holiday?

    • A) George Washington
    • B) Thomas Jefferson
    • C) Abraham Lincoln
    • D) Franklin D. Roosevelt
  3. In which state did the pilgrims first celebrate Thanksgiving?

    • A) Virginia
    • B) New York
    • C) Massachusetts
    • D) Pennsylvania
  4. What is the purpose of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

    • A) Religious procession
    • B) Celebration and Parade
    • C) Historical reenactment
    • D) Military display
  5. What is the significance of the wishbone tradition during Thanksgiving?

    • A) Symbol of peace
    • B) Symbol of good luck
    • C) Symbol of unity
    • D) Symbol of harvest
  6. Which Native American tribe is associated with the first Thanksgiving celebration?

    • A) Apache
    • B) Cherokee
    • C) Navajo
    • D) Wampanoag
  7. In what year did Thanksgiving become a national holiday in the United States?

    • A) 1621
    • B) 1776
    • C) 1863
    • D) 1929
  8. Which popular Thanksgiving side dish is made from sweet potatoes, marshmallows, and sometimes pecans?

    • A) Mashed Potatoes
    • B) Green Bean Casserole
    • C) Cranberry Sauce
    • D) Sweet Potato Casserole
  9. What is the meaning behind the cornucopia, a symbol often associated with Thanksgiving?

    • A) Unity
    • B) Abundance and Prosperity
    • C) Gratitude
    • D) Tradition
  10. Which spice is a key ingredient in traditional pumpkin pie?

    • A) Nutmeg
    • B) Cinnamon
    • C) Cloves
    • D) Ginger
  11. What do Canadians celebrate on the second Monday of October?

    • A) Canadian Independence Day
    • B) Thanksgiving Day
    • C) Remembrance Day
    • D) Victoria Day
  12. What is the name of the rock on which the Mayflower Pilgrims are believed to have stepped ashore?

    • A) Plymouth Rock
    • B) Independence Rock
    • C) Mayflower Rock
    • D) Pilgrim Rock
  13. Which American president issued a pardon to the first Thanksgiving turkey, starting the annual tradition?

    • A) John F. Kennedy
    • B) Ronald Reagan
    • C) George H.W. Bush
    • D) Bill Clinton
  14. What is the day after Thanksgiving often called, known for its major shopping deals?

    • A) Black Saturday
    • B) Cyber Monday
    • C) Red Friday
    • D) Black Friday
  15. What is the purpose of the presidential turkey pardon?

    • A) Symbolic Gesture
    • B) Annual Tradition
    • C) Legal Requirement
    • D) Historical Reenactment
  16. What type of meat did the Pilgrims and Native Americans likely consume at the first Thanksgiving?

    • A) Ham
    • B) Wildfowl
    • C) Venison
    • D) Bison
  17. Which American writer campaigned for the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the 19th century?

    • A) Mark Twain
    • B) Edgar Allan Poe
    • C) Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • D) Sarah Josepha Hale
  18. What is the traditional beverage served during Thanksgiving meals?

    • A) Apple Cider
    • B) Hot Chocolate
    • C) Eggnog
    • D) Pumpkin Spice Latte
  19. What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620?

    • A) Mayflower
    • B) Santa Maria
    • C) Golden Hind
    • D) Discovery
  20. Which state produces the most turkeys in the United States?

    • A) Iowa
    • B) Minnesota
    • C) Texas
    • D) California
  21. Which Native American, also known as Squanto, played a crucial role in helping the Pilgrims survive during their early years in America?

    • A) Powhatan
    • B) Hiawatha
    • C) Tisquantum (Squanto)
    • D) Pocahontas
  22. What is the purpose of the Thanksgiving corn maze tradition?

    • A) Historical Reenactment
    • B) Fun and Tradition
    • C) Religious Ceremony
    • D) Harvest Ritual
  23. Which president declared Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, where it remains today?

    • A) Woodrow Wilson
    • B) Theodore Roosevelt
    • C) Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • D) Harry S. Truman
  24. What was the original purpose of the wishbone tradition?

    • A) Symbol of Unity
    • B) Good Luck
    • C) Harvest Ritual
    • D) Religious Symbol
  25. In the context of Thanksgiving, what does the term “harvest” symbolize?

    • A) Gathering of Crops
    • B) Feasting
    • C) Thanksgiving Parade
    • D) Religious Ceremony
  26. Which country also celebrates a day of thanks on the second Monday in October?

    • A) Mexico
    • B) Australia
    • C) Canada
    • D) United Kingdom
  27. What is the name of the ship that transported the Pilgrims from England to the New World?

    • A) Santa Maria
    • B) Mayflower
    • C) Endeavour
    • D) Nina
  28. What savory sauce is commonly served with turkey during Thanksgiving?

    • A) Cranberry Sauce
    • B) Gravy
    • C) Mustard Sauce
    • D) Barbecue Sauce
  29. Which popular Thanksgiving dish involves mixing leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce in a sandwich?

    • A) Turkey Wrap
    • B) Cranberry Delight
    • C) Thanksgiving Panini
    • D) Turkey Sandwich
  30. What is the meaning behind the name “Thanksgiving”?

    • A) Giving Thanks
    • B) Harvest Celebration
    • C) Unity Feast
    • D) Pilgrim’s Appreciation
Click Here For Answers

Answer Key with Explanations:

  1. 1621: The first Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred in 1621.
  2. Abraham Lincoln: President Lincoln officially established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863.
  3. Massachusetts: The Pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  4. Celebration and Parade: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual celebration and parade in New York City.
  5. Good Luck: Breaking the wishbone is believed to bring good luck to the person who gets the larger piece.
  6. Wampanoag: The Wampanoag tribe is associated with the first Thanksgiving.
  7. 1863: Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the United States in 1863.
  8. Sweet Potato Casserole: This dish is made from sweet potatoes, marshmallows, and sometimes pecans.
  9. Abundance and Prosperity: The cornucopia symbolizes abundance and prosperity.
  10. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a key spice in traditional pumpkin pie.
  11. Thanksgiving Day: Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.
  12. Plymouth Rock: Plymouth Rock is believed to be the rock on which the Mayflower Pilgrims stepped ashore.
  13. George H.W. Bush: President George H.W. Bush issued the first official pardon to a Thanksgiving turkey.
  14. Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving is often called Black Friday, known for shopping deals.
  15. Symbolic Gesture: The presidential turkey pardon is a symbolic gesture of clemency for a Thanksgiving turkey.
  16. Wildfowl: The Pilgrims and Native Americans likely consumed wildfowl, which could include turkey.
  17. Sarah Josepha Hale: Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the 19th century.
  18. Cider: Traditional beverages during Thanksgiving meals may include cider.
  19. Mayflower: The Mayflower brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620.
  20. Minnesota: Minnesota is the state that produces the most turkeys in the United States.
  21. Tisquantum (Squanto): Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, helped the Pilgrims survive in America.
  22. Fun and Tradition: The Thanksgiving corn maze tradition is often seen as a fun and traditional activity.
  23. Franklin D. Roosevelt: President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.
  24. Good Luck: The wishbone tradition was originally seen as a way to gain good luck.
  25. Harvesting Crops: In the context of Thanksgiving, “harvest” symbolizes the gathering of crops.
  26. Canada: Canada also celebrates a day of thanks on the second Monday in October.
  27. Mayflower: The Mayflower transported the Pilgrims from England to the New World.
  28. Gravy: Gravy is commonly served with turkey during Thanksgiving.
  29. Turkey Sandwich: The dish involving leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce in a sandwich is a popular post-Thanksgiving meal.
  30. Giving Thanks: The term “Thanksgiving” signifies giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and the preceding year.

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with related topics to give you additional language practice.

ChatGPT was used collaboratively to prepare some of the discussion questions for this lesson.
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