When it comes to Thanksgiving, American traditions are shaped by family, food, and football. This holiday takes place on the fourth Thursday of November and focuses on delicious food and festivities. Whether it’s pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, pudding, or roast turkey, Americans put a lot of emphasis on the Thanksgiving meal.
However, American is not the only country with a holiday dedicated to gratitude, countries around the world also have celebrations with similar meanings. Here are nine different variations of the Thanksgiving celebrations around the world.
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Thanksgiving Celebrations Around The World
Thanksgiving originated in the US and Canada to thank a good harvest. This holiday was first celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November 1621 and persists to this day. However, the specific date and time will be slightly different from country to country. Because of the meaning of celebrating the bumper harvest day, this holiday has been celebrated by many countries around the world, including countries in Asia and Europe. Here are some Thanksgiving celebrations around the world that also express gratitude for food and crops.
Americans thank God for bringing a bountiful harvest. Thanksgiving Day in the United States remains the same as tradition; It’s the 4th Thursday of November. If you’re in the US, you’ll have 4 days off from Thursday to Sunday.
Because this is also the time to harvest cranberries, people in Massachusetts, the American Southwest also hold cranberry cake-making contests.
Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October; although they originally celebrated this day on a Thursday in November. In addition to enjoying turkey like Americans, they also eat bacon or lamb and La tourtiere – a baked cake made with mashed potatoes, rabbit/beef puree.
On Thanksgiving, family members will gather together, share memorable moments, pray for a bountiful harvest next year and thank the Almighty for helping them during the last season.
Interestingly, Thanksgiving Day in the UK has no specific date; The time of celebration will depend entirely on the weather conditions and culture of the region.
If to calculate a little more accurately, September – the end of summer – will be the time when Thanksgiving is celebrated across the UK. The harvest season will begin when apples, wheat and especially corn are harvested. The last bunch of corn will be greatly appreciated by the people and considered as luck. They would bring their harvest and plowshares to the church to pray, as according to British custom this would bring a good harvest for the following year.
If you have read through Greek Mythology, you must know about the goddess of the harvest Demeter – who takes care of the crops of the people here. Of course, the Greeks always worshiped and respected her. Every autumn, the harvest season, they celebrate Thesmosphoria for three days to show their gratitude to Demeter.
Food such as corn, cakes, fruits, and pigs will be offered to the goddess in the hope that the next year will be equally bountiful.
Pongal is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus. The harvest festival lasts 4 days and is celebrated in the southern Indian state to give thanks to nature and the life cycles that provide grain. In particular, each day of the festival has its own unique traditions, including making offerings to the gods, honoring and paying homage to the gods and their animals. The typical dish in this festival is Pongal (rice boiled in milk).
In Germany, Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest festival called Erntedankfest. This religious holiday usually takes place on the first Sunday of October. Although rural areas take the harvest festival more literally, churches in German cities also join in the celebration, to give thanks for the good fortune their congregations have experienced that year. This harvest festival includes many fun activities such as parades, music, and decoration of harvested fruits and vegetables.
In Malaysia, it is believed that “without rice there is no life”. So Malaysians celebrate the Kaamatan festival in May, which worships rice as an extension of the Creator, Bambaazon.
At the time of creation, the story goes that their Creator, Bambaazon sacrificed his daughter to save those who would suffer a great famine. He buried her organs all over the earth, and her body became the seed of the rice paddy. Still today, Malaysians still believe that this cereal contains the spirit of life and creativity. On this holiday, activities such as buffalo races and agricultural performances take place joyfully and excitingly all over the country.
The Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. This festival has a history of more than 3,000 years. It originated from the Chinese emperors worshiping the moon every year to pray for a bountiful harvest. The ancients believed that worshiping the moon and eating together would bring them luck and happiness.
The Mid-Autumn Festival lasts for 3 days, where people celebrate with moon cakes and other harvested foods like crabs, grapefruits, and grapes.
The variation of Thanksgiving in Japan is Labor Thanksgiving Day or Kinro Kansha no Hi. This holiday originated more than 2,000 years ago with a ceremony to give thanks for the first rice harvest of the season. The date of the festival was set to November 23, and it has remained the same ever since.
Today, Labor Thanksgiving Day is widely celebrated oriented around giving thanks for workers’ rights. Although the holiday is celebrated in different ways around the country, Nagano City holds an annual labor festival and draws attention to issues related to human rights and the environment. To mark the occasion, children often make thank-you cards for the police, firemen, or other city workers.
Here are some Thanksgiving celebrations around the world. Where do you like Thanksgiving the most? Does your country celebrate Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments section below!