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After being hunter-gatherers, mankind learned how to farm and cultivate crops. Since then, harvest time has been an important event in the year to celebrate bountiful crops. Among the most famous is America’s Thanksgiving, which was originally celebrated in the Plymouth Colony after the successful harvest of the Pilgrims.
See the fact file below for more information on the Harvest Festivals or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Harvest Festivals worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
BACKGROUND OF FARMING
- Prior to 9,000 B.C., humans hunted animals and gathered plants. Early people were nomadic, moving from one place to another dependent on the available resources.
- By 8,500 B.C., people began to grow plants and became sedentary. They planted wheat, barley, peas, and other crops instead of simply gathering them. Moreover, people began to domesticate sheep, pigs, goats, and cattle.
- The early development of agriculture can be traced to the Fertile Crescent located in modern-day Israel, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf.
- Ancient Egypt was among the first to utilize the gift of the Nile River. Due to annual flooding, land near the banks became fertile, and was best for growing crops like wheat and barley.
- In ancient Greece, farmers grew olives and domesticated goats and sheep.
- The Celts in England and France stored grain in pits which evolved to brewing beer from barley.
- In ancient China, the Han Dynasty improved agriculture by introducing irrigation schemes. Moreover, they utilized buffaloes to pull plows.
- During the Middle Ages, farming became the center of European life. The 3-field system was developed in Europe along with improvements in using a heavy plow.
- In the Americas, the Aztecs were known farmers growing tomatoes, avocado, pumpkins, peppers, and peanuts in marshy lands called chinampas.
- The Incas grew maize in lowlands and potatoes in highlands. Compared to other civilizations, Incas used digging tools and hoes to plow lands instead of animals pulling heavy tools.
- From the slash and burn system, Mayans shifted to farming in swampy areas after draining the land through irrigation.
HARVEST FESTIVALS IN DIFFERENT CULTURE
- As a form of giving thanks to a bountiful harvest, many cultures, both ancient and modern, around the world celebrate various harvest festivals.
- The Jewish Festival of Harvest also known as Sukkot or Feast of the Booths is celebrated for a week to commemorate how the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Jews remember this day by building Sukkahs or temporary dwellings used by their ancestors. Moreover, they put four species of plants that they use in their prayers as a symbol of blessing.
- Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur in which families unite to feast.
- The Day of Harvest for ancient Persians, known as Mehregan, is one of two ancient Persian festivals along with Nowruz or New Year. It is the time of year when families gather and share a table set filled with fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
- During May at the end of the rice harvest, Indonesians celebrate bountiful harvest by decorating fields with flags and straw dolls in honor of the rice goddess, Dewi Sri.
- Early Britons celebrated Lammas Festival to mark the beginning of the harvest season. They traditionally baked breads from the new crop and corn dolls to decorate the feast tables.
- Thanksgiving is the most famous among harvest festivals throughout the world. In the United States, this day is a national holiday to give thanks for the blessings of the preceding year.
- In the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, while Canadians observe it on the second Monday in October.
- The first Thanksgiving in the United States presumably took place in the Plymouth Colony when European pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower in 1621. It is believed that the Wampanoag Indians taught the pilgrims how to cultivate lands which helped them survive the winter that year.
- In contrast to the modern day celebration, the first Thanksgiving feast included lobster, onions, cabbage, chicken, rabbit, maple syrup, honey, leeks, chestnuts, and dried fruits. There was no turkey, mashed potato, pumpkin pies, and corn.
- It was US President Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863.
- In 1578, the first Thanksgiving celebration in Canada was brought by an English explorer. Moreover, Samuel de Champlain popularized the harvest festival to settlers who came to New France.
- In China, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the day to celebrate bountiful harvest. It was introduced by the Shang Dynasty and became popular during the Tang Dynasty. Today, it is a day to unite with friends, create paper lanterns, and eat mooncakes.
- Between August and September, the Ewe people of Ghana celebrate the end of the rainy season with the Yam Festival to welcome the first appearance of their staple food – yams.
- Countries including Germany (early October), Brazil (fourth Thursday in November), Korea (late September or early October), Japan (November 23), Zambia (February), and Liberia (first Thursday in November) also celebrate Thanksgiving.
Harvest Festivals Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Harvest Festivals across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Harvest Festivals worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Harvest Festivals. After being hunter-gatherers, mankind learned how to farm and cultivate crops. Since then, harvest time has been an important event in the year to celebrate bountiful crops. Among the most famous is America’s Thanksgiving, which was originally celebrated in the Plymouth Colony after the successful harvest of the Pilgrims.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Harvest Festivals Facts
- Harvest Festivals Around the World
- The Ancient Times
- Feast of Booths
- Matching Festivals
- Harvest Festival Wall
- Harvest Time!
- Fruits and Veggies
- American Thanksgiving
- Harvest Rituals
- Giving Thanks
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Link will appear as Harvest Festivals Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 28, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.