Thanksgiving Day in the US is a day for family, fun and, most importantly, feasting. No Thanksgiving spread would be complete without a massive roasted turkey at its center. This bird’s association with the holiday is so strong that it has become one of Thanksgiving’s main symbols and even spawned its nickname Turkey Day. What makes the turkey so iconic to this particular celebration?
Unlike other popular livestock such as chickens, cows or sheep, turkeys are exclusively native to North America. Although it’s unlikely that the first Thanksgiving feast between pilgrims and Native Americans included a turkey, these large fowl gained popularity as feast day centerpieces around the 19th century, when US President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.
Around that time, it was a common sight to see large flocks of turkeys being herded down the roads in the weeks before Thanksgiving.
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Though not the most intelligent of birds, turkeys do have other appealing features. They are known for their beautiful plumage and the “beard” of feathers that sprouts from their chests. Another distinctive feature of turkeys is their gobbling calls, although you might not know that only male turkeys make this sound. When it comes to flying, wild turkeys are actually quite good at it and can take to the air at up to 60 miles per hour.
It might seem a pity that so many of these birds become Thanksgiving meals, but not all end up on the dinner table. Every year since 1989, the president of the United States has pardoned a turkey or two that are then allowed to live out their lives in peace. These lucky birds really have something to celebrate on Turkey Day.
感恩節在美國是家人團聚、一同歡樂以及 ── 最重要的是 ── 大快朵頤的日子。一頓感恩節大餐的中央若少了一道豐盛的烤火雞就不算完整。火雞與感恩節的聯繫如此緊密，以至於牠已成為感恩節的主要標誌之一，甚至出現火雞節這個俗稱。是什麼原因讓火雞成為這個特定節日的代表呢？
Photo: courtesy of shutterstock /照片：shutterstock提供
What Did You Learn?
1. What does the word “iconic” in the first paragraph most likely mean?
2. What do we learn about the origins of having turkey on Thanksgiving?
(A) The tradition started with the first Thanksgiving feast.
(B) Native Americans used to eat turkey at their own feasts.
(C) It was uncommon for people to see turkeys in North America.
(D) Turkey became a popular Thanksgiving dish almost 200 years ago.
3. Why is Abraham Lincoln mentioned in the passage?
(A) He created a new national holiday during his presidency.
(B) He regularly herded turkeys before becoming president.
(C) He made the turkey popular on Thanksgiving.
(D) He was the first president to pardon a turkey.
4. Four people are talking about turkeys. Which of the following statements is NOT correct?
(A) “Gobbling calls are only made by male turkeys.”
(B) “Turkeys are extremely smart, but they are unable to fly.”
(C) “Only a turkey or two can be spared by the US president every year.”
(D) “Turkeys are closely connected to Thanksgiving Day, which is also called
Words in Use
1. feast vi. 盡情享用食物（本文為動名詞用法）& n. 盛宴
We will feast on ham and turkey at the church dinner.
In light of Terry’s good grades, his parents treated him to a feast.
2. association n. 聯繫；關係
Our school maintains a close association with a college in the US.
3. spawn vt. 產生，促成
The successful horror movie spawned five sequels in five years.
4. iconic a. 代表性的
That iconic logo is easily recognized everywhere in the world.
5. livestock n. 家畜（不可數）
Corn is sometimes used by farmers to feed livestock.
1. be native to + 地方 原產於……（某地）
= be indigenous to + 地方
indigenous a. 當地的，土生土長的
This kind of cactus is native to South Africa.
2. gain (in) popularity 開始流行，受到歡迎
The TV show failed to gain popularity and was canceled.
3. take to the air 飛行
The bats took to the air as we approached the cave.
4. live out one’s life
After retiring, Mr. Brown decided to live out his life in the countryside.
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