26 nov 2013

Thanksgiving in Madrid

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Madrid!
Winter is upon us and the countdown to Christmas in Madrid has definitely begun… and if you are reading this from the United States, we know that the holiday season would not be the same without that All-American Holiday… Thanksgiving! So in honour of the thousands of American ex-pats living in Madrid, not to mention all of learners and speakers of Spanish is the mighty U S of A, AIL Madrid would like to bridge the gap, share the traditions and talk about a Madrileño Thanksgiving!

The Story of Thanksgiving

Not everyone is familiar with the history of Thanksgiving, but the basic story is that on an autumn day, centuries ago, some Puritan settlers and their Native American neighbours sat down together and shared the food they had grown. The real facts are far more hazy, but what is certain is that a group of Puritan settlers arrived in Plymouth, Mass, in 1621 and met the Native American people living there, the Wampanoag. That first winter was extremely hard, and without cooperation with the Wampanoag, the settlers would surely have perished. In honour of the bountiful harvest and their beneficial teamwork, the settlers and natives held a three-day celebration and ate together. 

An All-American Holiday transplanted into sunny 
Madrid: You don't have to miss out! 
But the peace between the Natives and the English would not last, and to this day Native Americans consider Thanksgiving to be a celebration of treachery and cruelty that almost destroyed their way of life (much like the Día de la Hispanidad in the former Spanish Empire). And as for the settlers? 

The holiday that was to become Thanksgiving was celebrated erratically over the years, in different ways and on different dates according to State, until President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in order to foster good relations between the North and the South. By then it had started to take on the meaning it has today: a day to give thanks for the blessings in all of our lives.

Nowadays, families celebrate Thanksgiving by eating a meal together, usually consisting of turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans and vegetables. One of the most famous symbols of Thanksgiving is the annual Macy’s Day Parade through Manhattan, which is shown on television along with an NFL game. 

A Madrileño Thanksgiving

Madrid is a hugely popular place for Americans living abroad – some come to work, some come to study Spanish, others just to explore Europe. But they never go without their home comforts! 

  • Mad Café and Mad Grill pride themselves on bringing real American food to Madrid. This Thanksgiving weekend (starting Thursday), they are offering a special Thanksgiving menu (turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and stuffing) that will set you back less than 15 euros with a drink. Mad Café: Cava Alta 13. 28005 Madrid Metro La Latina, 911884604. Mad Grill Campoamor 13 28004 Madrid. Metro Alonso Martínez 910126430

But whatever their reasons for coming to Madrid, American expats are always united by their shared culture. There are many groups aimed at uniting and supporting Americans living in Madrid – the American Club of Madrid, Expats in Madrid, Americanas in Madrid. With so many Americans living in Madrid, the Spanish are learning more and more about this holiday. So if you are one of our American residents, here’s a handy vocabulary list to help you share the holiday with your Spanish friends.

One of the many American stores in Madrid 
– buy a Thanksgiving treat here!
Has all this Thanksgiving talk made you miss your home comforts? Are you jonesing for taste of home right now? Never fear, because Madrid has a selection of American stores to keep you supplied with treats from the USA - Betty Crocker, Hersheys, Campbells soup, Reeses PB cups and much more!

Deli USA
C/ Fernández de los Ríos, 24. 28015 Madrid – Metro Quevedo
A family run deli that describes itself as homage to American Culture and Food – how can you resist?

Taste of America
C/ de Serrano, 149. 28002 Madrid - Metro República Argentina
Taste of America Madrid is nearly twenty years old, well established with 19 stores in Spain and over 2000 products available. 

La Tienda Americana
Teléfono: 913 119 438 
C/ Martín de los Heros 63. 28008 Madrid – Metro Argüelles
This store started off importing American goods, nowadays it also specialises and offers classes in Wilton cake making and design, (maybe a Christmas present for an American friend who also happens to be a "goloso"?)

Season’s greetings from AIL Madrid!

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