Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World

November 18, 2013

Children Celebrating Thanksgiving Around the WorldThanksgiving is a traditional American holiday, celebrated with friends and family to give thanks for the harvest of the preceding year. Typical American Thanksgiving customs include the Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, turkey feasts with friends and family, and preparation for Black Friday.

Ever wonder if and how other cultures celebrate Thanksgiving? Take a look at how Canada, Germany, and The Netherlands commemorate their harvest:

  • Canada: Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, giving thanks at the end of their harvest season. (Their harvest season ends earlier than the United States.) Canadian Thanksgiving is very similar to American Thanksgiving and stems from the American Revolution as Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada and took their American customs with them.
  • China: Chinese Thanksgiving is called Chung Ch’ui or August Moon Festival and is a 3-day celebration in mid-August. During this time, Chinese families celebrate the end of harvest season with a big feast, consisting of roasted pig and mooncakes, which symbolize family unity and perfection. The Chinese also give mooncakes to their family and friends as a way of giving thanks.
  • Germany: Germany celebrates Thanksgiving with Emtedankfest, the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival in early October. While the festival contains a religious component, it also includes large harvest dinners and parades, similar to American Thanksgiving.
  • India: Southern India celebrates their harvest at the Pongal festival in January. The Pongal festival is named after a sweet rice dish of the same name, and features a community feast where neighbors come together to share crops and give thanks.
  • Japan: The Japanese celebrate Labor Thanksgiving Day annually on November 23 to celebrate labor and production, and to give thanks to one another. It is considered a national holiday and was adopted during the Ameican occupation after World War II.
  • The Netherlands: Because many of the Pilgrims who migrated to Plymouth were from Leiden, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held each year on the morning of American Thanksgiving to celebrate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World.

Try to incorporate another cultures tradition into your Thanksgiving celebration this year, whether it’s by handing out mooncakes, serving pongal, or attending a parade!

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