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Talking About Thanksgiving in Spanish

Let's learn some vocabulary to talk about the North American holiday el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving) in Spanish! 

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When Is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving takes place cada año (each year) on el cuarto jueves de noviembre (the fourth Thursday in November), which is, of course, la estación de otoño (the fall season). For a plethora of fall-related words, check out this lesson on Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season.

 

The History of Thanksgiving 

La historia (the history) of Thanksgiving is polémica  (controversial). Although many of us learned about a harmonious festín (feast) between los peregrinos (the pilgrims) and los nativos de América del Norte (the Native Americans), the previous and subsequent bloodshed have led many to rethink the way Thanksgiving is taught or whether they should celebrate it. In fact, many Native American tribes observe Thanksgiving as a day of luto (mourning).

 

That said, the idea of dar las gracias (giving thanks) is una costumbre (a tradition) that predates the so-called first Thanksgiving in mil seiscientos veintiuno, or 1621 (See this lesson on saying the years in Spanish!). It is a federal holiday in the United States that is cherished by many for the purpose of juntarse (getting together) with one's seres queridos (loved ones) to darse un banquete (feast) and festejar (celebrate) the things for which they feel agradecidos (grateful).

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Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

Although the pilgrims probably didn't eat Turkey at the first Thanksgiving, it has become the staple of many Thanksgiving meals:

 

Un pavo real como los peregrinos

A real turkey like the pilgrims.

Caption 60, Calle 13 Cumbia de los Aburridos

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Let's take a look at the words for many additional components of the traditional Thanksgiving feast that appear in videos from the Yabla Spanish library:
 

de puré de patata suave, entonces... eso es lo que vamos a perseguir.

smooth mashed potatoes, so... that's what we are going to seek.

Caption 14, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 4

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Es solomillo ibérico, relleno

It's Iberian tenderloin with stuffing.

Caption 72, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

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Podéis utilizar también cualquier otra verdura que os guste, como calabaza o judías verdes

You can also use any other vegetable that you like, such as pumpkin or green beans.

Captions 16-17, La cocina de María Cocido Malagueño

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¡Ah! -...arándanos rojos. -¡Arándanos rojos

¡Ah! -...cranberries. -Cranberries!

Caption 34, Cleer y Lida Picnic

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Y el dulce de batata también.

And the sweet potato jam also.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 4

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Here are some additional Thanksgiving food words that might come in handy:

 

Apple pie: el pastel de manzana, la torta de manzana

Brussels sprouts: los coles de Bruselas, los repollitos de Bruselas

Dinner rolls: los pancitos, los panecillos, los rollos

Corn: el maíz

Gravy: la salsa de carne, la salsa espesa, la salsa

Pecan pie: la tarta de nuez pecana, la tarta de pecana

Pumpkin pie: el pastel de calabaza

Yams: los ñames

 

Thanksgiving Activities and Symbols

In addition to comer (eating), many people congregate to watch fútbol americano (football) or view the famous desfile (parade) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, be it on TV or en persona (in person).

 

They might also decorate their homes with such Thanksgiving símbolos (symbols) as las velas (candles), el maíz criollo (Indian corn), las calabazas (gourds), and los cuernos de la abundancia (cornucopias or horns of plenty). 

 

However, the most important Thanksgiving activity (and indeed every day!) is giving thanks, which we think Claudia Montoya sings quite nicely about this in this clip:

 

Por eso cada día quiero dar las gracias Por todo lo que yo tengo, también lo que no tengo

That's why I want to give thanks every day For everything I have, what I don't have as well

Captions 12-13, Claudia Montoya Volverte a abrazar

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Some other ways to talk about being grateful and giving thanks in Spanish include:

 

agradecer: to thank, to express gratitude/thanks

estar agradecido/a por: to be grateful for

sentirse afortunado/a: to feel fortunate/blessed

sentirse bendecido/a: to feel blessed

sentirse agradecido/a por lo que uno tiene:  to count one's blessings (literally "to be grateful for what one has")

las bendiciones: the blessings

 

On that note, les agradecemos mucho (We thank you very much) for reading this lesson on Thanksgiving terms in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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