Around 87% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The United States isn’t the only country that has some form of Thanksgiving celebration. While actual reasons why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving are unique to the United States, we are not the only country that has a celebration due to a successful harvest of food. Many countries have similar holidays that bring together their family and friends for a huge feast.
Canada has actually been celebrating their own form of Thanksgiving long before we have been here in America. For them, the celebration started with the explorer Martin Frosbisher’s arrival in Newfoundland in 1578. After he landed in this New World he had a small feast as a way to celebrate him arriving safely. Canadians continue this tradition of celebration in October on the second Monday of the month. For the most part, the festivities are the same as those in the United States with turkey and pie highlighting the feast.
In Brazil they celebrate “el Dia de Ao de Graas” which means a day of Thanksgiving. The tradition began in 1949 after the ambassador of Brazil was inspired after a visit to the U.S. They celebrate on the 4th Thursday in November, but then entire country does not participate, as it is not an official holiday. Those that do follow the tradition have meals like we do with stuffing, turkey, mashed or sweet potato and pumpkin pie.
Every year China celebrates the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. This festival takes place in September or October and coincides with the 8th lunar month’s 15th day. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a celebration of the end of harvest season. One of the traditional foods eaten during this huge feast are mooncakes. These pastries are flaky and have a variety of delectable fillings inside of them.
Korea’s Chuseok is celebrated in late September or early October. During this time, food from the fresh harvest is used to make a feast. Families get together to eat and share stories. It is away to not only utilize the harvest, but to honor those that have passed. This celebration is also filled with dancing and costumes. One of the more traditional dishes eaten is called Songpyeon. It is a little cake made out of rice and filled with ingredients like beans.
Pongal, is the name for this region’s harvest festival. The celebration is spread out over 4 days…..He first day they honor Indra, the king of the gods which is believed to control the clouds and the rain; the 2nd day they honor Surya Pongal, their sun god with sugar cane sticks and a dish called sarkkarai pongal. On the 3rd day shepherds pay thanks to bulls and cows. The final day families get together and have a feast celebrating the year’s successful harvest.
Liberia’s Thanksgiving is celebrated during the first Thursday in November. It shouldn’t be surprising that Thanksgiving in this country is similar to America’s since Liberia was actually founded by slaves that were freed from the U.S. Traditional foods eaten on this day include spicy poultry dishes and mashed cassavas.
Although some of these celebrations are somewhat different than what we are used to in the United States, two things they have in common are family and good food. No matter how you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy the time with your loved ones and don’t forget to eat a delicious dish or two.
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