When you hear the word “Thanksgiving”, you instantly think of the words “American” and “Turkey”, am I right? There are variations of this holiday celebration around the world, not just an American thing. Although they might differ in origin, names, dates, traditions, and even Thanksgiving meals, they are all celebrated to express deep gratitude (well, from the word Thanksgiving itself).
Here are a few other nations or places outside America that celebrate this special holiday:
If you’re an American, you most likely know about Canadian Thanksgiving, which began in 1578. In the past, Thanksgiving was an act of appreciation early settlers carry out for a successful harvest of fruits. And although Canadian Thanksgiving, held on the second Monday of October, is older than American Thanksgiving by more than 40 years, the former has adapted few customs from the latter such as Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and others. Through the years, the menu has evolved and included more food Americans are familiar with.
2. South Korea
South Koreans celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday called Chuseok Day --one of the country’s most festive holidays. Chuseok Day, held in the mid to late September, is usually a family event where the family enjoys a heartwarming meal together and expresses gratitude to their ancestors. It is also a way to celebrate abundant autumn harvest. Essential food for such occasions is a delicious Songpyeon which is a type of rice cake that Koreans love. They also traditionally give presents, like high-quality cuts of beef, fruits, and gift sets, to relatives, friends, and business acquaintances.
Typically on the first Sunday in October, Germany holds a harvest festival Erntedankfest (“harvest thanksgiving festival”) that gives off a country fair vibe with dance and music events, lantern parades, fireworks, and even small carnivals. But of course, church services are also practiced. This kind of celebration in German-speaking countries is sponsored by Protestant and Catholic churches. For food, Germans celebrate a sumptuous meal with chickens, turkey, or geese.
Kinrōkanshah or Labor Thanksgiving Day is a holiday to honor workers in Japan. Japan celebrates the national holiday to thank workers who render effort and time to accomplish responsibilities. Having the holiday isn’t enough to let them know that they’ve done well, so sometimes it’s better to personally thank them --certainly feels more genuine and impactful. It is even adorable how kids are encouraged to make thank you cards and gifts for municipal workers such as the police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and others. It aims to touch people’s minds and encourage them to take a stand on current issues about human rights, peace, and environment, local labor organizations sponsor this occasion.
5. Norfolk Island
Thanksgiving in Norfolk Island was based on the American tradition. Norfolk Island, a small island in Australian territory with just over 2,000 inhabitants, used to be frequently visited by whalers and traders from the United. In the late 1800s, Thanksgiving began when an American named Isaac Robinson celebrated the event at a local church. It has been continually practiced by the locals over the years. The celebration includes participating in church services and relishing a delicious lunch with family and friends. People enjoy a meal of Norfolk Island cuisine with cornbread, pumpkin pie, and multiple banana dishes.
How about a little history? Before heading to North America, the pilgrims arrived at Leiden in the Netherlands and stayed there for 11 years. Thus, leaving traces of influence in the city. Throughout the country, people celebrate the event on the third Thursday of every November. Today, people in Leiden get together at the 900-year old church Pieterskerk to celebrate and recognize the perseverance and good fortunes of the early American settlers.
Liberia practices fun and lively Thanksgiving celebration, where a bunch of music, song, and dance matches the happy mood. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for Liberians to be thankful to God, to the Americans who freed slaves in the past, and of all the good things in life despite struggles or challenges. Churches, mostly Christian churches, are decorated with cornucopia and baskets of fruits such as mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and papayas. Families gather for a mouth-watering feast, devouring roasted chicken, mashed cassavas, and green bean casserole.
It is always good to be grateful and appreciate everything you have received, which is why people have ensured to keep the traditions going in the next generations. Celebrating Thanksgiving Day is even more special with the whole family or friends sharing a hearty meal. Have a happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!