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Thanksgiving Around the World

Corn field at mountain

In the United States, there was a celebration in 1621 by the Pilgrims in New England sharing a feast with their Native American neighbors, who had made it possible for them to survive the harsh wilderness. Thanksgiving was lost for many years, until President Lincoln made it a national holiday to be held the last Thursday in November in 1863.

Every autumn, the ancient Greeks enjoyed a three-day festival to honor Demeter, the goddess of corn and grains. The Romans had a similar celebration in which they honored­ Ceres, the goddess of corn. The Roman celebration included music, parades, games, sports and a feast.

The Chinese celebrate August Moon festival, which is a three-day harvest festival, on the full moon day of the 8th Chinese month. It was believed that this was the birthday of the moon. Friends and relatives convey their regard to each other by giving round and yellow moon cakes, which contain egg yolk to symbolize the moon. This holiday has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years.

In Germany, it is a religious holiday that often takes place on the first Sunday of October. Erntedankfest is a harvest festival that gives thanks for a good year and good fortune.

In Japan, Kinrō Kansha no Hi was created in 1948 to celebrate the rights of workers after World War II. It is celebrated November 23rd and it is tied to a celebration of hard work and community involvement.

The Canadian Thanksgiving arose from the same European origins of harvest festival that led to the American version and was first celebrated in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher gave thanks for his fleet’s safe arrival in the Canadian shores.

In Liberia, becoming an independent country in 1847, with many freed slaves from the US, they take the concept of the cornucopia and fill their churches with baskets of local fruits like bananas, papayas, mangoes, and pineapples and auction them off after the service. Afterwards, families retreat to their homes to feast.

However you celebrate your Thanksgiving, we hope you have a great one!