Thanksgiving Around the World


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High angle view of unrecognizable people passing side dishes during Thanksgiving dinner at dining table.

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As November speeds by like a bullet train, and people all across the US eat leftovers from the Thanksgiving season, some may be left wondering how other countries celebrate this holiday. Contrary to popular belief, other countries have their versions of the Thanksgiving holiday. Some celebrations are based less on the idea of giving thanks, and more on the idea of celebrating the harvest that comes with the autumn season. 



Thanksgiving or Action de Grace in Canada is somewhat similar to what the states have to offer. The date of the holiday up north has jumped around, mainly to align with other events in Canadian history. Some include the coronation of King Edward VII and armistice day. After some time the date was ratified as the second Monday of October. Canada celebrates with roughly the same food as the US. In the area of Newfoundland in Canada, they celebrate with a “Jigg’s Dinner” a feast consisting of boiled meat served with split-pea pudding. Ontario is known for having flaky butter tarts instead of pumpkin pie as their pastry. 



Thanksgiving in Brazil, also known as Dia de Acao de Gracias, is a carbon copy of the holiday in the US. In the 1940s Brazil’s US ambassador had seen how the Americans celebrated with food and other festivities. The ambassador reported this to the president of Brazil at the time, Gaspar Dutra, and he decided to make this a new holiday for the country of Brazil. Almost everything is the same, the food, the idea, and even the date are the same. The only real difference is that they end it with a parade in the streets, a carnival, and a church service giving thanks to the people after the festivities. 


Austria, Germany, and Switzerland

Austria, Germany, and Switzerland all celebrate a Thanksgiving-like festival called Erntedankfest. The festival will usually fall between the end of September and the start of October. The celebration is more focused on the autumn harvest than the idea of giving thanks. The celebration also is not focused on the gathering of families for some form of dinner. Rural areas will have parades, festivals, church services, and other public gatherings for the holiday. While turkey is prominent during festivities, others might opt for chicken or rooster. 


China’s version of Thanksgiving is known as the “Moon Festival”. The festival lasts for three days in late September and is used for families to get together and celebrate by giving thanks for a good autumn harvest. The Chinese celebrate in the streets with lantern lighting, making mooncakes, and dragon dancing. Moonpies are savory pastries made with the paste of sweet beans, or lotus seeds. 



Kinrõ Kansha no Hi, or “Labor Thanksgiving day” in Japanese is Japan’s celebration of thanks. Kinrõ Kansha no Hi is used to honor workers in the communities of Japan. The holiday falls on November 23rd and is very different compared to other versions in other countries. There aren’t any big parades and there is no big meal involved. However, there is the Nagano Labor Festival, A festival that brings awareness to human rights issues, and environmental issues. 


All information given in this article was gained from these sources