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Thanksgiving Around The World

December 6, 2017

When the word, “Thanksgiving” comes to mind, most of us picture a glorious roasted turkey accentuated by fluffy, scrumptious stuffing. We anticipate a day packed with family, pumpkin carvings, and pecan pie. From the days of elementary school when we were making hand turkeys, we were told the American origins of Thanksgiving—the pilgrims befriending the Native Americans. Although our holiday has its national roots, similar festivals are celebrated all around the world.

Germany—Erntedankfest

On the first Sunday of October, the Germans celebrate a harvest festival in appreciation for a good year. There are various processions where the citizens will wear a wreath of produce, grains, and flowers upon their head. Favorite foods of the occasion include chicken and geese.

Japan—Kinro Kansha no Hi

The Japanese tend to be much more patriotic with their Thanksgiving than Americans are. Kinro Kansha no Hi traces back to only 1948 to applaud the privileges of the post- World War II Japanese work force. During the event, labor organizations are prevalent and children present handmade gifts to their local police officers.

Korea—Chuseok

With the literal translation “Autumn Eve”, Chuseok is a three-day harvest festival in Korea which focuses on celebrating the elderly in the community and family ancestors. A special type of rice cake called songpyeon is the stable food of the holiday, and unlike American Thanksgiving, gifts are exchanged during this time.

Vietnam—Tet Trung Thu Festival

Celebrated in September or October, this harvest festival is also called the Children’s Festival—observing each child as a symbol of holiness and virtue. Tet Trung Thu is also the second most vital feast in Vietnamese tradition. On this day, the children will perform cultural dances and light lanterns.

Ghana—Homowo Festival

In remembrance of a famine that occurred before the country was colonized, the inhabitants of Ghana celebrate this festival in May while they are planting their crops. Festivities include, face painting, musical pursuits, and dancing. A popular dance of the holiday is called Kpanlogo which is accompanied by drums. 

China—Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

Much like the traditional American Thanksgiving, this moon festival serves as an incentive for family to get together. As one of the most important holidays in the country, it is the day the moon is supposed to be the brightest, endowing good fortune onto the people. The mooncake, a flaky pastry with a filling, is the most consumed food item of the festival.

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