Thanksgiving is one of America’s biggest holidays held annually on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a time when airports are at their busiest with family reunions happening all over the country. Delicious Thanksgiving feasts are cooked, and parades are marched in. However, America isn’t the only country that celebrates a Thanksgiving of some form! Here are some Thanksgiving celebrations from around the world, all to give thanks.
Similar to their American neighbours, Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving with a meal of epic proportions. Served with a local flair, you may find tourtiêre (a pie filled with meat and potatoes) or a maple syrup, butter pie on the table. Canadian Thanksgiving is also celebrated in October and the tradition began almost 40 years before the American one!
The Brazilian Thanksgiving is called Dia de Ação de Graças and celebrated on the same day as the American Thanksgiving. The reason for this is Brazil’s Thanksgiving began after the Brazilian Ambassador returned from a trip to the USA and had enjoyed the Thanksgiving tradition so much that he asked the President to create a similar holiday. So, from 1949 the country has given thanks on the fourth Thursday of November with a roast turkey meal with all the trimmings.
With a greater focus on giving thanks to those who work and for the fruits of their labour, Japan has Labour Thanksgiving Day on the 23rd of November. Its origins date back over 2,000 years to a ritual offering for the season’s first rice harvest and has evolved over history to become about showing gratitude to those who keep the country running smoothly. Each year, children will write thank you letters to those in first responder positions – like police officers and firefighters.
Erntedankfest translates to ‘harvest thanksgiving festival’ and is mainly celebrated in the more rural areas of Germany. This is a religious holiday held on a Sunday in late September or early October (depending on the region), with locals coming together for a church service, parade and even a county fair! Sometimes a turkey substitute has been bred, like a chicken or rooster that has been fattened up for this special occasion.
Mid-autumn Moon Festival, also known as Têt-Trung-Thu, is another ancient tradition that is thought to have originated to celebrate the children. The holiday is thought to have been created to give parents quality time with their children once the summer harvest is over and is now Vietnam’s second biggest holiday of the year. To celebrate this day in September, children light lanterns, perform lion dances, and indulge in moon cakes made from lotus seeds and mung beans.