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Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in many countries. In the USA, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It is celebrated to give thanks for the harvest obtained. Families share a meal, attend church, and have a good time celebrating the day. Americans also attend sporting events on that day as a part of the celebrations. Thanksgiving traditions are not followed only in the USA but in many countries across the world. Thanksgiving traditions vary from one country to another depending on local history and culture. We look at the thanksgiving traditions at 5 countries around the world.
5 Thanksgiving traditions in the world
An interesting fact not many people are aware of is that Thanksgiving was first held in Canada 40 years before it started in the US. The tradition was started by the British explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578. The tradition started as a thanksgiving for the safety of the fleet. The tradition continued to be followed until it was formally established in 1879. The Canadian Parliament decided that November 6th would be celebrated as Thanksgiving. In 1957, this was changed and it was decided that the second Monday of October would be the Thanksgiving Day. Celebrations in Canada is exactly like that in the US. People eat turkey, spend time with their families, and watch football. It is a holiday in many of the provinces of Canada. It is observed as a secular holiday but people celebrate it at all churches across the country.
In Germany, Thanksgiving is celebrated as Erntedankfest. The word translates to the harvest festival of thanks. Just like in the US and Canada, the festival is celebrated as thanksgiving for the harvest obtained. This is a religious day where people celebrate thanksgiving at churches. The day of Thanksgiving in Germany is the first Sunday of the month of October. However, the day varies in different places. Some places celebrate it in September. The tradition way of celebrating the festival involves taking the Erntekrone or the harvest crown. Grains, fruits, and other produce is taken to the church in the harvest crown in a procession. The produce is then distributed to the poor and needy. A feast is celebrated with chicken and rooster on the menu.
It is interesting that Thanksgiving is celebrated in far-off Liberia in Africa in the same way as it is done in the US. The reason is that Liberia was established as a nation by slaves who had been freed from America. It was natural that all those who came from the US carried forward the tradition in Liberia. The day of thanksgiving is celebrated in churches as a Christian festival. The first Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving. Spicy roast chicken is on the menu. Local fruits harvested are auctioned and families who get the produce feast on it. Apart from food and church service, Liberians celebrate this day through dance and music.
The tradition of Thanksgiving in Japan dates back to as early as the 7th century AD. During those times, the rice harvest festival was celebrated as thanksgiving for the good harvest. This festival was known as Niinamesai. The festival was formally declared as a day of thanksgiving with national celebrations during the Mieji rule of Japan. November 23rd was fixed as the day of celebrations and this remains the day even today. In 1948, the tradition was modified to make it as a Labor thanksgiving day to commemorate the rights of workers. There are no feasts but there are events where the importance of hard work is commemorated. Citizens thank people who work for the community like police, firemen, municipal employees, etc.
Grenada is an island nation in the West Indies group of Caribbean islands. In this country, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 25th of October every year. There is an interesting history to the celebration of thanksgiving. In 1983, US forces invaded Grenada along with Caribbean soldiers and deposed the socialist government. The US soldiers stationed in Grenada celebrated Thanksgiving and informed locals about the festival and the reason for celebrations. The locals who were grateful to the US for the government changed decided to offer thanksgiving to the troops. They invited soldiers for festivities and feasts were held with turkey dishes just like in the US. In most places in Grenada, celebrations are done to remember the day when they were freed of socialism. The festival is mostly celebrated in urban areas only.