Giving Thanks for the Harvest


A painting called "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe
via Wikimedia Commons

Adam Navis and Liz Waid tell about harvest festivals around the world. During these festivals people give thanks for the good things in their lives.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Somewhere in the world a farmer plants many seeds into a field. The farmer waters the fields. Soon, after sun, water, and time, the seeds grow into large plants. They are fruits, or vegetables or grain. The plants are full and ready to be used. It is time to take the fruit or vegetable or grain from the plant. It is time for the harvest.

Voice 2 

The harvest comes at the end of the growing season. This is usually a time when people have enough good food to eat. They eat as much as they want. They prepare and save some for the future when food is rare. But people also do something else at harvest time - they celebrate!

Voice 1 

People around the world celebrate the harvest during harvest festivals. During these festivals they eat good food. But they also give thanks for the great harvest. In today’s Spotlight we will look at some of the ways people around the world celebrate the harvest and give thanks!

Voice 2 

People have been celebrating the harvest for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and ancient Romans both celebrated the harvest. Ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. They held a harvest festival to thank and honor their goddess Demeter. Ancient Romans worshipped a similar goddess called Cerelia. During these festivals, people gathered together to eat and drink. They played games and danced. They brought offerings of food to the goddesses. They hoped that their offerings would please the goddesses so they would have another good harvest the next year.

Voice 1 

Today, people still celebrate the harvest. They still show thanks for the food that grows from the ground.

Voice 2 

In Argentina, in the Mendoza Province, people celebrate the National Grape Harvest Festival. This province grows the fruit grapes. These grapes will be made into wine. Through December, January and February there are special events. One of these events happens on the last Sunday in February. It is a religious ceremony. The Archbishop of Mendoza puts holy water on the first grapes of the season. He thanks God for the harvest. The governor of the area also hits a plow - a tool for harvesting. This represents the end of the harvest. After this, people gather in the streets to watch parades. The celebrations end in early March. This is the main event. There is a show with lights, dancing and music. There are fireworks and even a beauty show. More than twenty thousand people from all around the world attend this event.

Voice 1 

People in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is also called the Moon festival or Harvest Moon Festival. The Chinese have celebrated this festival for hundreds of years. It happens on the fifteenth day of the eighth month each year in the Chinese Han calendar. It is called the Moon Festival because the moon is very big and very bright at this time of year.

Voice 2 

The moon is a symbol of unity. During this festival, people gather together with friends and family. They give thanks for the harvest. They give thanks for their relationships. Finally, they pray for a good future.

Voice 1 

During this festival, people also eat a food called Moon Cake. These cakes are round, like the moon. They are a symbol for coming together. People give these cakes to family members and friends. This is a wish for those people to have a long and happy life.

Voice 2 

Another popular harvest festival happens in the United States. People there call it “Thanksgiving”. The origins of this holiday go back hundreds of years. There is no clear record of what truly happened. But the story begins with a group of Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were a group of people from Europe who went to live in North America. They had a very difficult time during their first year there and many of them died. The next year they finally had a good harvest. They were very thankful and they wanted to celebrate. They invited their Native American friends to eat with them. Together the two groups prepared and ate a huge meal of corn, fruits, vegetables, fish and meat.

Voice 1 

Today, in the United States Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. It happens on the last Thursday of November. Families gather together from far distances. They eat turkey meat, vegetables and sweet desserts. Some play American football and they go to parades.

Voice 2 

In England, the Harvest Festival happens near the harvest moon. This tradition is very old. People in ancient England offered the first part of their harvest as a sacrifice to their fertility gods. Later, they used the last part of the harvest to make a doll. It was a symbol of the goddess of grain.

Voice 1 

England began celebrating their modern Harvest festival in 1853. That year, the leader of a church invited members of the church to a special event to give thanks. Today, people bring fruit and vegetables of the harvest into Christian churches to decorate them. They give food to people in the community who are hungry. It is a time to give thanks for food. It is also a time to share it with people who do not have enough food.

Voice 2 

Many countries around the world have harvest festivals. They give thanks for the food they have grown that year. They hope that the harvest will be as good or better the next year. Harvest time is also a good time to think about other things that people are thankful for – shelter, family, friends, health, love, and more.

Voice 1 

At harvest time, who do we thank for these things? Many harvest festivals have religious importance. People thank God for providing for them. However, many people also show thankfulness to each other. People show thankfulness to other people in many different ways. They can write a note to tell a person thank you for a gift or act. Some people do good things for others who have done good things for them.

Voice 2 

When you think about the harvest and giving thanks for it, whom do you thank? What are you thankful for? Where do the good things in your life come from?

Voice 1 

Do you celebrate a Harvest Festival in your culture? How do you celebrate? Are there special foods or ceremonies? Tell us about it. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2 

The writers of this program were Sara DeKoster and Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Giving Thanks for the Harvest’.

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What are you thankful for? Where do the good things in your life come from?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
joss
said on February 22, 2016

I am thankful for everything god has given to me during my life. The good things come from praying to the lord everyday. In some part of the country my ancestors celebrate a harvest festival after they harvest some seeds, corn, beans and they invite people around to celebrate a party and eat the godos. This is in the state of Toluca in Mexico City.

axoy's avatar
axoy
said on February 23, 2016

Yes, my country have been celebrating Festival of the Ramadan for thousands of years.

Avatar Spotlight
Truongbinh1996
said on November 24, 2016

In my country , it is called the Moon festival , it happens in August every year .It is a very meaningful festival to me and family , in the days of the festival had a lot of activities are happened, Those activities was to make people very happy and hope that the next harvest will more good .

Avatar Spotlight
PRINCE KUMAR
said on November 24, 2016

How to use the word ‘having’ ?

Avatar Spotlight
KatyBlake
said on December 08, 2016

PRINCE KUMAR - you ask about the word ‘having’. I hope that this example will help you.
We HAD a harvest festival last year (in the past)
We ARE HAVING a harvest festival (now)
We WILL HAVE a harvest festival next year (in the future)

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on December 31, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Saturday 31, December 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Adam Navis, Sara Dekoster, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you for bringing us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!
I am thankful for everything in my life. My good things in my life come from my struggle which I have to do everyday at work in the hospital where I work for.
However, unfortunately here in Brazil there is a festival to celebrate the harvest. Here in my country Brazil there are many events and festivals during the whole year to celebrate another things not the harvest.

Your regards,
I wish you a happy new year. I hope you have a wonderful 2017.
Severino Ramos
Brazil