The roots of the American Thanksgiving holiday can be traced back all the way to 1621 when local natives and colonists held a harvest feast. Abraham Lincoln declared, in 1861, an official day in late November for Thanksgiving.
During the 1930s, an attempt to change the holiday by President Franklin Roosevelt and bring it forward was met with discontent. Eventually, it was agreed that the official Thanksgiving holiday would be celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Over time the specific customs and traditions that are associated with Thanksgiving have changed from watching football games in the afternoons to marking the start of the shopping season for the holidays. The standard elements of the holiday have stayed the same over time from giving thanks with the family to celebrating the fall harvest and food.
The following are some of the Thanksgiving and harvest festivals from around the world along with their methods for giving thanks:
Thanksgiving in Canada
It is believed that the first Thanksgiving holiday held in Canada was in 1578 which makes it older than the holiday in the United States of America. The celebration in Canada took inspiration from similar holidays in Europe and was a method for the early settlers to celebrate a successful harvest.
Canadians have adopted a few of the traditions from the Thanksgiving holiday in America even though their holiday celebration is forty years older. In the lead up to, and during the course of the Revolutionary war, a number of American colonists, who were loyal to the British crown relocated to Canada, taking some holiday traditions with them such as the iconic turkey.
Nowadays, the menu in Canada for this celebration includes many of the ingredients and foods that Americans would have, including sweet potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving in Canada is not a holiday in all provinces and is held each year on the second Monday of October.
Thanksgiving in China
In China, the annual celebration is held around the fifteenth day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Called the Mid-Autumn Festival, the celebration is usually held when the moon is at its brightest and fullest, which is at the end of September or start of October, Similar to the American celebration the festival began as a public holiday to show gratitude for the season changes as well as to celebrate the fall harvest.
There are a number of differences between the American Thanksgiving and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. For a start, the holiday in China is a lot older. The roots of this holiday go back over 2,500 years, well before Europeans had set foot in the new world. Instead of the pumpkin pie that Americans have for Thanksgiving, the popular Chinese dessert is called mooncake. This cake is a mix of duck eggs, ground lotus seeds, and sesame seeds.
Thanksgiving in Germany
In Germany, there is a harvest festival held on the first Sunday of October each year, called Erntedankfest. This is not a holiday that is family oriented and has much less in common than the traditional American celebration than harvest festivals in many other countries.
The celebrations across Germany are held by Catholic and Protestant churches alike and include parades, music, dancing, and fireworks. While Americans favor turkey, the Germans are more likely to go with chickens, roosters, geese or hens.
Thanksgiving in Grenada
The Thanksgiving holiday in Grenada, while very different to the American traditions, the links to the United States cannot be escaped from. In 1983, during political turmoil, there was a military coup which led to the execution of the well-liked Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. This led to a power vacuum in Grenada and the country ended up in chaos.
In 1983, the United States was concerned about the welfare of nearly eight hundred American medical students that were studying on the island at a university. The US was also concerned that Cuba was developing a communist influence on Grenada. On October 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan gave the go-ahead for the United States to invade the island.
A large number of Grenadians were grateful for the US invasion but globally it was met with widespread criticism. After learning about the American tradition, the Grenadians created feasts for Thanksgiving for the US troops around the country. October 25 has been called Thanksgiving Day on Grenada since the 1983 invasion. The celebrations are mainly held in the more urban areas of Grenada.
Thanksgiving in Japan
Japan celebrates a holiday that is similar to both Thanksgiving and Labor Day in America on November 23 each year. The national holiday in Japan is called Kinro Kansha no Hi, or Labor Thanksgiving Day. This holiday can be traced back over two thousand years to a ritual that offered thanks for the first rice harvest of the season.
Thanksgiving in South Korea
South Koreans celebrate a holiday called Chuseok Day, which is quite similar to the Thanksgiving celebrations in America. The holiday is celebrated between the middle and late September each year.
On Chuseok Day Koreans celebrate the autumn harvest and spend the day with their families to give thanks to their ancestors. Similar to the American tradition, Koreans share a meal amongst family members. Traditional customs in Korea to celebrate this holiday include Korean circle dances, Korean wrestling, and ancestor memorial services.
Connect with Your Family from Around the Globe This Thanksgiving
For Thanksgiving this year, spend more time connecting with your friends and family by calling them and taking advantage of the excellent low call rates available for calls all around the globe. The low call rates can be utilized to call more than fifty countries worldwide.
Make Calls Around the Globe for Just $10 per Month!
Global Family provides via CallingCards.com an excellent calling card plan that is very affordable and offers unlimited calls. For just $10 per month, you can keep in touch with friends and family in over fifty countries on this unlimited calling card plan. This is a great new method that is cost-effective for making calls to friends in national and international locations.
Wherever you are this Thanksgiving, at home or overseas, call your friends and family to wish them a happy Thanksgiving.