Thanksgiving Traditions Around the World
By: Jade Wright and Hannah Taylor
Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal, including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in America on the fourth Thursday of November. However, the United States isn’t the only nation with a holiday dedicated to gratitude. Thanksgiving is celebrated in many different countries around the world and is centered around the concept of giving thanks for blessing.
In Germany, many citizens celebrate the holiday Erntedankfest, which takes place on the first Sunday of
October. This event is centered around a harvest with its main foods being the crops harvested and bread. Churches in the cities join in on the celebration, giving thanks for the good fortune their congregations experienced throughout the year. The churches begin with a sermon and choral singing, which is then followed by the Thanksgiving procession, completed with the presenting of the traditional “Harvest Crown” that is given to the Harvest Queen. They also celebrate by listening to music, dancing, torch parades for the children and fireworks to end off the day!
Libreria is one of the last places that one might expect to have an American holiday in its mittens, but it’s true! Churches in Liberia auction off baskets filled with local fruits such as papayas and mangoes; usually after this event families feast on their gifts. Instead of turkey, Liberian Thanksgiving includes spicy roasted chicken and mashed cassavas. Nights are then filled with live music, dancing, and good times.
Spinning around the globe to Japan, their variation of Thanksgiving is Kinro Kansha. This festival is
adapted from an ancient rice harvest called Niinamesai. Kinro Kansha is celebrated on November 23, and is centered around citizens celebrating the principles of hard work and community involvement; this is a bit different from the huge feast that occurs in the states. To get the young ones involved, Japanese children often make thank you cards for policemen, firefighters, and other public workers.
Though there are different variations of Thanksgiving around the world, one thing remains constant: they are all centered around coming together as a community and giving thanks.