If you’re a fan of the American hit comedy T.V. series Friends, you’ll know what Thanksgiving is like in the U.S.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on November's fourth Thursday every year. First celebrated in 1624 by the pilgrims to pay gratitude for their first harvest in the New World, the festival celebrated now is the modern shape of old times.
In America, the arrival of this occasion means the beginning of winter. It’s followed by Christmas and New Year. Of course, the usual American Thanksgiving dinner has turkey, pies, and mashed potatoes. Other activities include:
- Playing Soccer.
- Enjoying family gatherings.
- Being grateful to each other.
- Sharing the one thing they’re thankful for.
Canadian Thanksgiving is similar to America’s, with a slight difference: it’s celebrated on the second Monday of October. Moreover, the origin of this festival in Canada dates back to 1579.
Canadians celebrate this festival in the spirit of the one who introduced it in the country: Martin Frobisher. Frobisher celebrated it to express gratitude for his otherwise adventurous voyage.
Liberian Thanksgiving is also similar to the American version. The reason is the freed USA slaves who founded Liberia back in the 19th century. However, the eating traditions are different in Liberia. So, instead of eating mashed potatoes, Liberians eat mashed cassavas and a spicier turkey than Americans.
The festival is celebrated on November’s first Thursday.
Thanksgiving in China is celebrated for three days, during which they enjoy feasts in gratitude for the completion of the harvest season. The celebration occurs when the moon is at its fullest and shines the brightest between September and October.
Chinese believe that this festival is meant to help rekindle old friendships and lost flames. The traditional food is mooncake – a flaky pastry stuffed with sweet or savory delights.
Thanksgiving in Barbados is about celebrating the harvest of sugar cane. The traditions include people demonstrating their strengths by challenging each other in competitions. Eating and drinking contests are also some of the fun activities in Barbados.
The end of the Thanksgiving occasion comes with the Grand Kadooment parade, where the marchers walk dressed up in vibrant costumes.
Vietnamese and Chinese Thanksgiving are held around the same time. But Vietnamese Thanksgiving is known as one of the most touching celebrations around the around.
The theme revolves around children with parents showing their appreciation and love. After all the busy time spent harvesting, it’s the perfect time to make amends and let the children know they are loved.
In the Netherlands
Thanksgiving is more commonly known as an American ‘thing.’ But the history of the first Pilgrims can be traced back to Leiden in the Netherlands. The pilgrims stayed in the Netherlands for 11 years before moving to the U.S.
Traditional Thanksgiving meals include turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, and dressing. The festival is annually held across the country on the third Thursday of November.
In essence, occasions like Thanksgiving are about spending quality family time. Korean traditions truly depict it.
The Korean Chuseok Harvest Festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar on the 15th day of the 8th month. People get together at their ancestral homes and spend time with families. The traditional Chuseok meal is lunch with dishes like Songpyeon and dingdong.
The festival pays tribute to the ancestors who worked hard to provide families with the blessings they have now. Koreans also visit their ancestors’ graves and tombs, clean them, and give food and crops as offerings.
The equivalent of Thanksgiving in Germany is called Erntedankfest. It’s celebrated on October's first Sunday every year. Compared to Canadian and American Thanksgiving celebrated as family gatherings, Germans celebrate within a Church.
One of the rituals includes having woven baskets filled with nuts and fruits of all kinds and blessed by the church. They’re distributed amongst the poor after that. So, it’s not only about expressing gratitude for a good harvest in Germany. Instead, it’s about sharing the bounty of it with everyone.
Children get their well-deserved spotlight, too, with the lantern ceremony especially organized for them.
Thanksgiving in Japan is celebrated on the 23rd of November and is called Kinro Kansha no Hi. It’s dedicated to the skilled workforce and their contributions to society, as well as a celebration of their rights. On this day, children prepare cards and gifts to be distributed among public services, including:
This day is also meant to relieve the public servants from their duties. This way, people can spend quality time with their families and return with a renewed passion for working the next day.
Thanksgiving is an occasion to spend with families and friends, share a laugh, and renew the bonds. So even if the traditions, days, meals, and way of gathering around are a little different, the underlying theme is the same: family is everything, and what you’ve got at the end of the day is your family.
As a festival, Thanksgiving has started to gain more recognition globally, with countries like India, Brazil, Ghana, and Malaysia celebrating it in their own way.