thanksgiving celebrating countries - Thanks Giving day 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

thanksgiving celebrating countries

thanksgiving celebrating countries

When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

  • In the US, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. This year, it falls on Thursday, November 23.
  • President Abraham Lincoln was the first US president to officially declare the festival as the last Thursday in November.
  • The date was set in stone by President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941.
  • International celebration. Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada, Grenada, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Liberia and the Netherlands.
  • Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. 
  • Black Friday. Friday after Thanksgiving kickstarts the Christmas shopping season with promotional sales. 
  • The day after Thanksgiving was called "Black Friday" in a 1951 journal referring to workers calling in sick in order to have a four-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Why is it called Thanksgiving? 

  • Blessing of the harvest. It began as a day where people took the opportunity of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
  • In the US, the celebration is often recognised as an event that took place when English colonists held a feast to thank Native Americans for helping them start new lives in the US.
  • "The First Thanksgiving" was celebrated after their first harvest in October 1621. The feast lasted three days.
  • Five letters to five US presidents. After a long campaign, Sarah Joseph Hale, editor of Godey's Lady Book - a colonial women's magazine - is credited with making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the US.  
  • In support of the proposed national holiday, Hale wrote letters to five presidents of the US. The letter she wrote to Lincoln convinced him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of thanksgiving in 1863.
  • "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution," she wrote.
  • Before Thanksgiving Day, the only national holidays celebrated in the US were Washington's Birthday and Independence Day.
  • National day of Mourning. From the perspective of many Native Americans, the holiday symbolises centuries of land seizure and the erosion of tribal cultures.
  • The United American Indians of New England protest group accuses the US and European settlers of fabricating the Thanksgiving story, and, since 1970, the group has organised a National Day of Mourning protest on the day.

Why is it celebrated with turkey?

  • Hamilton's turkey. Eating turkey for Thanksgiving in the US precedes Lincoln's nationalisation of the holiday in 1863. In the 19th century, founding father Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no "Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day."
  • Some give credit to Hale, whose accounts emphasised a roast turkey and eventually became the model for the festivities.
  • Others believe the birds were chosen because they are large enough to feed many people, and they don't serve a purpose like laying eggs or making milk.
  • More than 50 million turkeys are served in the US every year for Thanksgiving.
  • Pardon tradition. Dating back to at least 1947, US presidents were gifted with turkeys at Thanksgiving. These turkeys were usually eaten.
  • Ronald Reagan was the first president to "pardon" a turkey, in 1987. His successor, George HW Bush, made the pardoning ceremony into a White House tradition from 1989 onwards.
thanksgiving celebrating countries

How Other Countries Celebrate Thanksgiving

nadians don’t carry on about the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock come fall, but they do gather with their families for turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. They have their own origin story for the holiday, and they celebrate it in early October, before the country is frozen over for winter, naturally. After my wife enlightened me, I began to wonder: could other countries celebrate Thanksgiving, too?
Actually, quite a few do. They might not call it Thanksgiving, and they might not roast a turkey, but it turns out that Americans don’t have a monopoly on the idea of gathering together to express their gratitude for the fall harvest.


Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. Americans are often shocked to learn that Canadians believe they invented the holiday, and the Americans are the ones who copied it. Canadians trace the holiday back to 1578—more than 40 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock—when the English explorer Martin Frobisher organized a feast on a frigid fall day in Newfoundland to celebrate his crew’s passage through the Northwest passage.


The Thanksgiving celebration in this tiny Caribbean country is directly linked with the United States. While it’s also called Thanksgiving, it’s celebrated on October 25th and has nothing to do with the autumn harvest. Rather, it celebrates the day in 1983 when American troops arrived to restore order during an attempted communist coup. Apparently, the troops introduced the Thanksgiving concept, suggesting that Grenadians celebrate the restoration of democracy with a grand feast, which eventually morphed into a national holiday.


In Europe, harvest festivals date back to pagan times. In modern Germany, however, the notion has found its way into religious culture: Erntedankfest (literally, harvest thanks festival) is celebrated with a special church service and quiet a lot of singing. Traditionally, a harvest queen and harvest king are crowned by the community and paraded through town in a grand procession (Erntedankfest is most widely celebrated in rural areas). The festivities are typically held on the first Sunday of October, though local communities may choose to celebrate it at any time during the harvest season.

The Netherlands

Americans associate the Pilgrims with Great Britain, but many were actually Dutch. Some historians have argued that the original Thanksgiving may have been inspired by Drie Oktober, a holiday on the 3rd of October that commemorates a military victory in the city of Leiden, where many Pilgrims lived before immigrating to England. To this day, a major Thanksgiving celebration takes place in a Leiden church that the Pilgrims frequented, in honor of these hardy, idealistic settlers. The event is modeled loosely on American Thanksgiving (it was on the fourth Thursday of November), but is mostly celebrated in public venues, rather than in private homes.


National Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the first Thursday of November in Liberia, also has an American connection. The country was founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves who imported the tradition. Though only a small percentage of the population identifies as Americo-Liberian today, the holiday persists—though with tropical African flavor. In place of turkey and mashed potatoes are roast chicken and mashed cassava. It’s always harvest season in the tropics, so in this case, Thanksgiving is viewed as a time celebrate the founding of the country.


In Asia, Thanksgiving celebrations have little to do with the United States. On November 23rd each year, the Japanese observe Kinro Kansha no Hi—Labor Thanksgiving Day—which traces its roots back to ancient harvest rituals. The idea is to celebrate not just food, but the hard labor that goes into producing it. In 1948, the holiday was formalized by country’s post-World War II government as celebration of labor rights more broadly, not just of those who produce food.


The Korean Thanksgiving equivalent, called Chuseok, which translates as “autumn eve,” is celebrated for three days on or near the autumn equinox—whenever the harvest moon appears each year—a tradition that has been alive in the region for millennia. One of the major Korean holidays, it is a time of gathering with family and, as in America, feasting until you can feast no more. Traditional Chuseok foods include rice balls flavored with sesame seeds and pine needles and Korean “pancakes” (which are basically deep-fried meat and vegetables), all washed wn with a bit of rice liquor.

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