Celebrated on fourth Thursday of November in the United States, Thanksgiving is essentially a harvest related festival. It was originated in the fall of 1621 to celebrate the harvest of first successful wheat crop. Family reunion, turkey, mashed potato and pumpkin pie feast, and football games are some of the ways Americans celebrate the day now. However, the holiday have different variants around the globe that celebrate the same communal harmony and bountiful harvest. Here are few of other famous harvest festivals from different parts of the world.
Thanksgiving Day in Canada
It might surprise you but Canadians have been celebrating Thanksgiving before Pilgrims even landed in Plymouth. According to historians, Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October, partly because it is more aligned with European harvest festival and partly because Arthur Forbisher, a British explorer celebrated his safe arrival to Canadian shores in 1578. He celebrated his expedition of the New World with a small feast to thank his crew. You will be delighted to know that Canadian Thanksgiving is largely like American – family gathering around table full of turkey, pies and potatoes.
Thanksgiving in Liberia
The West African nation takes its inspiration for Thanksgiving from American. A group of American reformers spent years in turning the African country into home of former American slaves. So when freed slaves came to Liberia, they brought many of the customs of the New World. Liberians celebrates first Thursday of November as their Thanksgiving Day. Though it is not as grand as you celebrate in the USA, it primarily includes visiting places of worship such as Church, where Liberians offer fresh fruits, and then family feast that has mashed cassavas, chicken and green bean casserole.
Thanksgiving in the Netherlands
The city of Leiden in the Netherlands has a special association with the American festival. Before pilgrims reached the New World, many of them took shelter in Leiden. They lived and worked there between 1609 to 1620. The city has several elements of colonial American life such as wood-planked houses, ladder-back chairs and the harvest celebration. Celebrations at Leiden includes non-denominational church service with offerings of cookies and coffee. There is no turkey feast here.
Thanksgiving in the Norfolk Island
This tiny island between Australian proper and New Zealand celebrates Thanksgiving Day on fourth Wednesday of November. The tradition started in mid-1890s when an American trader Isaac Robinson tried to Americanize the island by introducing Thanksgiving celebration by introducing locals to American foods like pumpkin pie. Today, families decorate All Saints Church with palm leaves and lemons, and bring fresh fruits and vegetables to church.
They may have different customs and traditions, but the basis of celebration is same – to thank the Almighty for his offerings. Tell us how you are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving Day this year?