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BRITS BITS: Is there a British Thanksgiving?

Brits Bits graphic art. (U.S. Air Force graphic illustration by Gary Rogers/Released)

Brits Bits graphic art. (U.S. Air Force graphic illustration by Gary Rogers/Released)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Bence, second from left, director to U.S. Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, and his wife Wendy, left, serve Thanksgiving lunch to patrons in the Gateway Dining Facility Nov. 28, 2013, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall in celebration of the American holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Bence, second from left, director to U.S. Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, and his wife Wendy, left, serve Thanksgiving lunch to patrons in the Gateway Dining Facility Nov. 28, 2013, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall in celebration of the American holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, carves a turkey during the Thanksgiving lunch served in celebration of the American holiday Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. Several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, carves a turkey during the Thanksgiving lunch served in celebration of the American holiday Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. Several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Jones, right, 100th Air Refueling Wing command chief, and Shannon Bibb, wife of U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 100th ARW commander, serve Thanksgiving lunch to patrons in the Gateway Dining Facility Nov. 28, 2013, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall attended the meal where several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch in celebration of the American holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Jones, right, 100th Air Refueling Wing command chief, and Shannon Bibb, wife of U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 100th ARW commander, serve Thanksgiving lunch to patrons in the Gateway Dining Facility Nov. 28, 2013, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall attended the meal where several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch in celebration of the American holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

Royal Air Force Sqn. Ldr. Rick Fryer, RAF Mildenhall station commander, carves roast beef during the Thanksgiving lunch served in celebration of the American holiday Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The dining facility hosted the event, where several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

Royal Air Force Sqn. Ldr. Rick Fryer, RAF Mildenhall station commander, carves roast beef during the Thanksgiving lunch served in celebration of the American holiday Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The dining facility hosted the event, where several distinguished visitors joined the dining facility staff to serve lunch to approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jim Mesa, 100th Force Support Squadron food specialist, mashes potatoes for the Thanksgiving lunch Nov. 28, 2013, held at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The cooks prepared lunch for approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jim Mesa, 100th Force Support Squadron food specialist, mashes potatoes for the Thanksgiving lunch Nov. 28, 2013, held at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The cooks prepared lunch for approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Daniel Csiti, 100th Force Support Squadron food specialist, transfers bread rolls to serving dishes for the Thanksgiving lunch Nov. 28, 2013, held at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The cooks prepared lunch for approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Daniel Csiti, 100th Force Support Squadron food specialist, transfers bread rolls to serving dishes for the Thanksgiving lunch Nov. 28, 2013, held at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. The cooks prepared lunch for approximately 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

A variety of pies await hungry Thanksgiving meal patrons at the Gateway Dining Facility, RAF Mildenhall, England, Nov. 28, 2013. The special meal was prepared in celebration of the American holiday and fed more than 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

A variety of pies await hungry Thanksgiving meal patrons at the Gateway Dining Facility, RAF Mildenhall, England, Nov. 28, 2013. The special meal was prepared in celebration of the American holiday and fed more than 250 members of Team Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Yanick Mba, far side of the table, 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron supply liaison, celebrates his first Thanksgiving meal with friends Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. Mba recently joined the U.S. Air Force from Africa where the American holiday isn’t celebrated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Yanick Mba, far side of the table, 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron supply liaison, celebrates his first Thanksgiving meal with friends Nov. 28, 2013, at the Gateway Dining Facility on RAF Mildenhall, England. Mba recently joined the U.S. Air Force from Africa where the American holiday isn’t celebrated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Maurer/Released)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November, is a day in which we give thanks and remember the time when pilgrims first harvested the New World in 1621.

Thanksgiving became a U.S. federal holiday in 1863. Over time, the holiday has grown to include traditions including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, National Football League games and, of course, turkey with all the trimmings.

I always thought of Thanksgiving as a solely American holiday, which is why I was surprised to discover that some places in England celebrate it too. It's not a bank holiday in the U.K., and its celebration isn't as widely spread across the country as it is in the U.S. Yet the holiday's existence on this side of the Atlantic made me ask, "Why do some British people celebrate an American holiday?"

The answer to my question is relatively simple: many of the first Americans were British.

Nearly 400 years ago, the pilgrims' trip to the New World was a feat in itself. After their arrival, the British and Dutch passengers settled the colonies, which did not become independent from Great Britain until 1776, almost 155 years later. Therefore, some people in England celebrate Thanksgiving as a way of remembering their kin, and their traditions are very similar to Americans'.

Before gaining the official title of Thanksgiving, American and British people celebrated this time of year for the autumn harvest. It was a time of year when families and friends gathered to enjoy their bountiful crops. This explains why we incorporate fall foods such as turkey, butternut squash, corn and "pumpkin-everything" into our Thanksgiving meal.

Nowadays, if you find yourself in an English pub around this time of year, you might be able to order from a Thanksgiving menu. However, don't be surprised if they have some unusual options like pork belly, grilled sea bass and parsnips. I found one hotel in London that serves a posh meal of butternut squash with ginger foam and turkey with cranberry jus.

For those who want to go back where it all started, the Plymouth Barbican Waterfront, England, hosts a Thanksgiving-weekend festival at the waterfront area from which the Mayflower set sail. More information about this event can be found at http://www.barbicanwaterfront.com/events/thanksgiving-day/.

The name Plymouth sounded familiar. I knew it was significant - especially regarding the Mayflower - but I had never heard of Plymouth, England. After a quick reminder, I remembered the Mayflower, with its 102 passengers and 30 crew members, sailed from Plymouth, England, and after settling in the New World, the passengers named their new town Plymouth and held their first Thanksgiving at the Plymouth Plantation.

I, for one, think it would be awesome to stand where the first group of soon-to-be Americans stood before they embarked on their lengthy journey across the ocean. But even if I don't make it to Plymouth this year, I'll give thanks that Thanksgiving is more than just an American holiday. After all, we may never have had this holiday if it wasn't for the British and Dutch Pilgrims who dared to sail to a new land.

Happy Thanksgiving!