11 Other Countries That Celebrate A “Thanksgiving”
I’m sure it makes sense to many out there that we aren’t the only country who has a holiday centralized around being giving and thankful as well as the harvest we can provide. In fact, there are many other countries around the globe that celebrate an autumn harvest along with the feeling of being thankful for all the earth is able to provide for us. So I decided to make a post to give a little inside information on some of these countries and what they do to celebrate the season! Enjoy!
It’s no surprise that a country very similar to us and close in proximity has their own version of Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving there was celebrated in the form of a Fall Harvest by the indigenous peoples of the land prior to European arrival. Once the Europeans arrived, they soon formed their own Thanksgiving to signify God’s giving graces and eventually the holiday even took up many American Thanksgiving customs. The main difference is that the holiday is celebrated every year on the second Monday of October instead of the United States’ tradition of being held on fourth Thursday of November (it was celebrated on Monday October 12th this year).
Also known as Labor Thanksgiving Day, Japan celebrates this national holiday on the 23rd of November each year. What was once a holiday focused around the fall harvest, has now been transformed to celebrate all the hard workers across the country. Instead of the generalize idea of thanks, I love how Japan takes the time to thank all those who work around them and assist in providing the life citizens live every day.
Now Barbados does not actually celebrate a Thanksgiving, instead they celebrate their Independence Day in the autumn season unlike the United States who celebrate in July. After achieving independence from Britain on November 30th, 1966, the island has deemed November 30th a national holiday. This holiday is usually celebrated with things such as official buildings and even roads being lit by gold and blue lights (the colors of the Barbados flag) as well as Arts Festivals to showcase the talent among their culture. The festivities usually flow into December 1st!
8. Australian Norfolk Island
Believe it or not, this Thanksgiving has actually been inspired by the United States holiday. When an American trader came and settled on the island back in the day, he suggested his church celebrate the American holiday. The tradition soon spread and today the holiday is widely celebrated among the islanders. Meal include local staples mixed with the more traditional American fare.
The day known as Dia de Ação de Graças is considered Brazil’s form of Thanksgiving. Like the United States, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November but is by no means considered a national holiday. Rumor has it that it was actually inspired by the United States. It is only celebrated by few who go to church and pray their thankfulness. Other than that the real holiday comes the next day. Black Friday is BIG in Brazil!
China is another country who has taken the idea of the holiday from their United States counterparts. After many American teachers brought over the teachings of the United States’ Thanksgiving, the idea has slowly spread over time. Many, especially Christians have adopted the day as a day of small gift giving and thankfulness. Known as Gan’en Jie or ‘thanks for grace holiday’, the Chinese Thanksgiving is a direct copy of the United States and is usually a day where ‘American’ food or more traditional meals are consumed.
Known as Tadau Ka’amatan, Malaysia’s holiday is a celebration of the harvest. After doing some light research on the holiday, what I loved learning was that the festivities usually include alcoholic drinks produced from locals own brews. This includes fermenting their own items to create a brew for the occasion. It also includes dishes that are rice based due to rice being one of the top harvested items they celebrate! Other festivities include celebrations ranging from buffalo racing to cultural dances. This celebration is actually celebrated in May.
4. South Korea
Usually a three day holiday celebrated on the “15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon” (Wikipedia), Korean Thanksgiving or also locally known as Chuseok, is another cultural harvest festival. This holiday, unlike some of the other countries listed, is considered one of the most important holidays the country has. On the Eve of the holiday, many gather or return to their home town and make traditional dishes made up of mainly rice. They return to the ways of their ancestors and celebrate all there is to be thankful for, especially family. This also includes gift giving to not just family, but also friends and colleagues as well.
Also known as Erntedankfest, Germany’s autumn harvest celebration. Usually celebrated on the first Sunday of October, Erntedankfest (which is also celebrated in Switzerland as well as Austria) is started with a church ceremony, then in typical German fashion is followed by a celebration of food and music! Not as family based as other Thanksgivings around the globe, Germany’s festivities usually include a Harvest Queen pageant as well as a celebration into the night which sometimes ends with fireworks for children to enjoy!
Celebrated on the first Thursday of November, Liberia’s Thanksgiving is a carbon copy of the celebration in the United States. I say this because Liberia was originally made up of ‘freed’ slaves from the United States. Due to this history, they have taken up many holidays and customs from the United States including the Thanksgiving festivities. The day is celebrated slightly differently though, although it is still a day of thanks, it mainly revolves around thanking God for freeing the slaves and allowing them to come to Liberia as free men. Food on this day is usually spiced with cayenne to keep the dishes hot, a common tradition among Liberian delicacies.
1. One Town In The Netherlands
Now one thing I slightly touched upon in my Real History Behind Thanksgiving posts was how the Pilgrims found themselves travelling to the New World. They did not leave Europe due to religious persecution, instead they found themselves living in the Netherlands’ town of Leiden after being exiled from England. There they feared over time that they were losing their language and heritage so from there is where they decided to head for the New World. Anyways, believe it or not, that one town in the Netherlands that use to be home to the Pilgrims still celebrates Thanksgiving to this day! Hence why this little town got saved for last. The town celebrates at a Church within the town of Leiden and typical Thanksgiving fare food can be found throughout the country every year on the day.