Thanksgiving… A time to celebrate with family and give thanks for the blessings in our life. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and is traditionally celebrated by sharing a feast with friends and family. The first Thanksgiving was reported in 1621, but has been celebrated nationally since 1789. Although Whip Mix celebrates American Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is not solely an American holiday. As a global business, here is how Countries around the world choose to celebrate Thanksgiving.
In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1578 and is known to be the first Thanksgiving celebrations of North America. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is similar to the United States and is celebrated by a feast with friends and family.
In Grenada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25th. The holiday is celebrated on the anniversary of a joint Caribbean and United States military invasion of Grenada in 1983. The day is a celebration of the time that soldiers were invited to dine with locals and is celebrated by a feast with friends and family.
In Barbados, Thanksgiving is known as The Crop Over festival. The Crop Over festival begins in June and is a three-week long celebration for the end of the sugar cane harvesting season. The festival begins with a ceremonial delivery of the last canes and culminates with the Grand Kadooment parade. The Crop Over festivities have garnered worldwide attention and tourists from all over the world attend the event.
In Brazil, Thanksgiving is known as Dia de Ação de Graças which translates to “a day of thanksgiving.” Dia de Ação de Graças is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and dates back to 1949. The holiday is a celebration of a good harvest throughout the year. Dia de Ação de Graças is celebrated with a church service in the morning and festivities throughout the day including a feast with friends and family.
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
In German, Thanksgiving is known as Erntedankfest, translated as “harvest festival of thanks.” There isn’t an officially designated date the holiday is celebrated, so festivity dates vary from mid-September through October. Unlike the United States, Erntedankfest is celebrated with a church service followed by the presentation of the Erntekrone (“harvest crown”) and a feast.
In the United Kingdom, Thanksgiving is known as the Harvest Festival, but is sometimes referred to as “Brits-giving”. There isn’t an officially designated date the holiday is celebrated, so festivity dates vary during September and October. The festival is a celebration of the year’s harvest and celebrated with a feast featuring the seasons produce. Extra produce is given to charities throughout the area.
In the Netherlands, similar to the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. When English settlers traveled to the new world on the Mayflower, there were settlers from the Dutch city Leiden. The holiday is celebrated in Leiden with a celebratory church service for the successful voyage of their ancestors to America.
In Israel, Thanksgiving is known as Sukkot or the Feast of the Tabernacles. The celebration lasts for seven days and begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is typically in September or October. During the seven days, special prayers and psalms are read and all food is eaten in a sukkah, an open ceiling wooden booth. The sukkahs commemorate the temporary dwellings Jewish people developed on their journey to Israel.
In South India, Thanksgiving is known as Pongal. Pongal is a four-part celebration. On day one, Bhogi Pongal, honors Indra, the king of the gods, with harvest offerings. Day two, Surya Pongal, honors the Sun God with sarkkarai pongal and sugarcane sticks. Day three, Mattu Pongal, cowherds and shepherds pay thanks to the animals by painting and decorating the animals. Day four, Kaanum Pongal, is a celebration with family to give thanks for a successful harvest.
In China, Thanksgiving is known as “Chung Chiu” Moon Festival. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the Eighth lunar cycle of the year. During the holiday, families come together for a three-day feast featuring mooncakes with a yolk representing the full moon. Family and friends exchange mooncakes as a sign of peace and unity.
In Vietnam, Thanksgiving is known as Têt-Trung-Thu. Similar to China, the festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the Eighth lunar cycle of the year and is celebrated with mooncakes. Vietnamese give thanks and celebrate family with what is known as the Children’s Festival. Parents shower their children with love and appreciation, and at dawn there is a candlelit ceremony with handmade lanterns.
In Japan, Thanksgiving is known as Kinro Kansha no Hi which translates to “Labor Thanksgiving Day.” The holiday is celebrated on November 23rd and has been celebrated since the Meiji Era (1868-1912). The festivity began as a celebration of harvest, but in 1948 transitioned to a celebration honoring workers. Rather than celebrating with food, the Japanese celebrate with labor organizations and festivals celebrating the environment, peace, and human rights.
In South Korea, Thanksgiving is known as Chuseok or Hangawi which translates to the 15th day of the eighth month which is when the holiday is celebrated. Chuseok celebrates the first day of the full harvest moon. To celebrate, songpyeon, a traditional rice cake, is cooked with family and friends as a bonding experience. Gifts are also exchanged in thanks.
In Malaysia, Thanksgiving is known as the Kaamatan Harvest Festival or the Kadazan Harvest. The festival is celebrated throughout May and is culminated with a two-day public holiday throughout the country. The festivities center around rice and giving thanks to the rice God Semangat for the bountiful harvest.
In Norfolk Island, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday in November. The holiday has roots back to the mid-1890’s when an American hosted a Thanksgiving feast in All Saints Church. The holiday is celebrated by bringing fruits, vegetables, and corn stalks to decorate the church.
In Liberia, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday in November. Thanksgiving in Liberia has been celebrated since the 1820’s, but officially became a holiday in 1880. The day is a celebration stemming from the freeing of slaves who brought the American traditions with them. Thanksgiving is celebrated by a church service followed by a feast with friends and family.
In Ghana, Thanksgiving is known as the Homowo festival, which translates to “hooting at hunger,” or the Yam festival. The festival begins in August and is centered around the harvest season. Ghanaians gather to celebrate the endurance of their ancestors during the famine centuries ago. The celebration begins with a ceremony honoring the deceased and is celebrated with special yam dishes and kpekpele, a mashed corn meal with palm oil.
Giving thanks around the world may look different, but as humans, we are all connected through giving thanks. As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, know that we at Whip Mix are thankful for YOU, our valued friends from all over the world.