Thanksgiving is not just about America


Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Countries around the world recognize Thanksgiving celebrations in the fall.

Julia Inks, Staff writer

Americans hear the word Thanksgiving and automatically make assumptions about the traditions practiced across the country, but a form of Thanksgiving is actually celebrated in at least nine other countries.

Thanksgiving in Liberia, for instance, is celebrated on the first Thursday in November. Many of the traditions celebrated by residents in the United States are also celebrated by citizens of Liberia because Liberia was founded by freed slaves in 1847 and they carried with them many of those traditions.

Canada celebrated Thanksgiving on October 14. It is believed that they actually started their tradition in 1578 to celebrate the end of the Lower Canada Rebellion, but they have also adopted many of the traditions celebrated in the United States.

In Germany, they celebrate Erntedankfest, which is similar to Thanksgiving in purpose, but not in popularity. It is more of a harvest festival. It is celebrated on either the first Sunday in October or the first Sunday following Michaelmas, which is at the end of September.

The country of Grenada has a relatively new tradition in Thanksgiving. It has been celebrated on October 25 since 1983. On that day, in an effort to protect Grenada from a potential press by Cuban communists, President Ronald Reagan arranged for an American invasion, for which many Grenadians were grateful. Thanksgiving, for them, is a national holiday of gratitude and remembrance, primarily celebrated in urban areas.

On Norfolk Island, a small island near Australia, enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from a visiting American trader in the late 1800s. The residents of this island, on the last Wednesday of November, enjoy a meal of pork and chicken and bananas, and pumpkin pie.

Asian countries also participate in Thanksgiving celebrations. In China, the Mid-Autumn festival Mid-Autumn Festival typically falls between late September and early October. The festival originated more than 2,500 years before the American celebration to express gratitude for the fall harvest.

The Vietnamese celebrate Têt-Trung-Thu Festival or the Children’s Festival on the same day as the Chinese celebration. It recognizes that parents are often busy during the harvest season and it gives them a chance to make it up to them. This holiday allows the Vietnamese to give thanks with family.

In Japan, they celebrate a Thanksgiving Labor Day known as Kinrō Kansha no Hi, a tradition that is over 2,000 years old. Despite its long history, this Thanksgiving Labor Day only became an official holiday in 1948 and honors both the harvest and the work force.

Finally, South Korea celebrates Chuseok Day, a holiday very like the North American Thanksgiving. It is celebrated in the middle of September to honor the autumn harvest. Festivities include sharing a meal with family members and memorial services for ancestors, as well as wrestling and circle dances.

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