Hello, this is Alisha-sensei!
Right now is the autumn season and many places around the world have different traditions during this time of year. Here in Japan, many people often go out and see the tree leaves that are changing colors. In the United States, we also like to go out and view the leaves, but we also have a very big holiday during this time called Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving begins a special time just usually called "The Holidays" which also includes Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. These are special as they are the biggest and most celebrated holidays for the whole year. Opposite to Japan, Christmas, along with Thanksgiving, are the holidays where people return to their hometowns, visit their parents and eat meals together. New Year's holiday is generally a couple's or drinking holiday in which people go out and attend parties.
Thanksgiving is special to the United States as it is based on the history of the first people from Europe who came to America hundreds of years ago to make a new home. During that time, they had very little food and living was very difficult. The old stories say that the Native Americans who lived there before the European people helped them make their homes and find food. To say thank you, there was a big feast, or meal with many people.
On Thanksgiving Day, which is always on the third Thursday of November every year, mothers and grandmothers will start cooking food early in the morning. Sometimes they will even start cooking the night before! The main food for Thanksgiving is a whole turkey that is usually baked for many hours. The rest of the family will usually arrive a little before or around lunchtime and may also bring small food items or desserts to add to the meal. While the main food is finishing, family will often sit and talk, watch TV specials, or do other activities. Then, sometime in the afternoon to early evening, the entire family will sit down and eat the meal together. Afterwards, there is usually a sports game, such as American Football, on TV that many of the family will watch together before going home.
All families have their own special traditions or special foods that they will have for Thanksgiving as well. For example, my grandmother makes a chocolate cake with nuts that is her own recipe that she created. She makes it "from scratch", meaning that very ingredient is fresh and not made in a factory or restaurant. This is my favorite thing from my family's tradition.