This is How Thanksgiving is Celebrated Around the World!

Thanksgiving Around the World

Known as the celebration of inculcating gratitude in life, Thanksgiving is not just about carving a turkey or the mashed potatoes and the cranberry sauce which seems to be a part of every Thanksgiving dinner. It is more than about just a get together of family and serving of delicious food. Even though it originated as a festival to express gratitude for a good harvest but with time it expanded in its meaning. If you are familiar with the popular representation of Thanksgiving, you will know that with time, it has become a festival meant to express gratitude for all the good things which have come your way throughout the year. Even though the idea behind the festival is similar across the world, every country has a unique way of celebrating it. This blog brings you a glimpse into the exciting celebrations of Thanksgiving around the world!


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If you have watched the American sitcom Friends, you must exactly know what a Thanksgiving celebration looks like in America. Amongst the most popular Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, it’s celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of the month of November. In America, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the winter holiday season followed by Christmas and New Year. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1624 by the pilgrims to commemorate their first harvest in the New World and the Thanksgiving celebration that you see today is an extension of the same fiesta. A typical American Thanksgiving celebration has at its centre the Thanksgiving dinner with its turkey, pies and mashed potatoes. Other highlights of the celebration are the parades, the football matches and the family coming together and saying one thing that they are thankful for this year. 

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The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the second Monday of October. The Thanksgiving celebration in Canada is pretty similar to that in America with its turkey and football. But the origin of this festival in Canada can be dated back to 1579, which is almost 40 years before the advent of American thanksgiving which is the most popular one around the world. As history goes, it was first celebrated in Canada by Martin Frobisher in order to express gratitude for the safe completion of their otherwise dangerous voyage. It’s taking from this tradition that the Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving and till now, the essence of the festival remains the same. 


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Erntedankfest is the German equivalent of Thanksgiving, usually celebrated on the first Sunday of October. It’s more religious in its form than the Canadian and American Thanksgiving on the front that most of the celebrations take place in the church. One of the significant rituals in this unique celebration of Thanksgiving around the world is the ceremony in which woven baskets filled with all kinds of fruits and nuts are brought to be blessed by the church and then in an elaborate procession distributed amongst the poor. It is a day to not express gratitude for a good harvest but also sharing the bounty of it with everyone. The other highlights of Erntedankfest include the lantern ceremony hosted especially for children.

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You can find a variation of Thanksgiving even in Japan. But instead of thanking God for the harvest, Japan’s Labour Thanksgiving Day which is called Kinro Kansha no Hi is dedicated to thanking the Japanese workforce for their contribution to the society and is a celebration of their rights. It’s celebrated on the 23rd of November and on this day the school children prepare cards and gifts which is then distributed among the public servants like police officers, firefighters, coastguards in order to express the gratitude for their work. Amongst the most remarkable Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, this day is also meant to give people a break from the busy schedules so that they can rest and spend quality time with their families. 


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When you think about Thanksgiving traditions around the world, India never comes to your mind. Right? But a variation of Thanksgiving is celebrated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. As other Thanksgiving traditions, Pongal is dedicated to express gratitude to the Sun God for the plentiful harvest as it’s the backbone of their economy. It’s celebrated on the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi and the beginning of this celebration is marked with the boiling of the first rice of the season and is then dedicated to the gods. There are similar celebrations across India like Makar Sankranti in northern India and Monti Fest in the southwestern parts of India. 


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The Korean Chuseok Harvest Festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar is very similar in its origin to Thanksgiving around the world. In this festival, the Koreans get together at their ancestral homes and spend time with their entire family. A traditional Chuseok lunch consists of many traditional Korean dishes like Songpyeon and dongdongju. This festival is basically meant to pay homage to the ancestors for the good luck that the have blessed their families with. The tombs of the ancestors are visited, cleaned and are given offerings of food and crops. 


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In Liberia, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of each November. It is a day dedicated to express gratitude for the foundation and establishment of their country which was a product of their ancestors struggle for freedom. It’s a festival of hope marked as a celebration of all the good things in life. Unlike in the American or Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, the Liberian Thanksgiving dinner consists of roasted chicken, green bean casserole and mashed cassavas. It’s a day where the nature community get together and celebrate the day with lots of dancing, music and food. 

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So, these are the few major Thanksgiving traditions around the world. Even though the way of celebrating this day varies across cultures, it a day meant to celebrate life itself and there is a sense of hope inherent in its. Want to study at any of these top countries abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you throughout the process of selecting the right program and university and further lend you a helping hand through the admission procedure! Sign up for a free session with us now! Happy Thanksgiving!

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