Thanksgiving: An International Holiday


 Thanksgiving is a national holiday, which is very popular in the United States. Many festivities take place during the week of Thanksgiving. Why do we celebrate it though? Well, it’s a story most people know. In 1608, it was the celebration of the pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation, where the settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season.

Some may be surprised to know that other countries celebrate their own Thanksgiving. Most notably, Canada celebrates a Thanksgiving. Not all of Canada celebrates it though. Quebec Province does not because of the French background. But the rest of the Atlantic provinces celebrate the holiday. The only difference is that Canada celebrates it earlier than the United States does. They usually celebrate the second Monday of October.

Why does Canada celebrate Thanksgiving earlier? It is because Canada is further north than its American counterpart. Their harvest happens earlier, because winter starts earlier for Canada. Another country that celebrates Thanksgiving is Liberia, an African country. Liberia’s Thanksgiving is on the first Thursday of November. Despite being all the way in Africa. Liberians celebrate a little differently though, usually serving dishes such as roasted chicken, mashed cassavas, and green bean casserole. Even Brazil celebrates the Thanksgiving Holiday. For Brazil, Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday of November, just as in the US.

Why don’t other countries celebrate Thanksgiving? Well there is a list of reasons. Mainly its historical significance, for example in the US it is because of a successful harvest by the Pilgrims. So in a country like South Africa it doesn’t make sense to celebrate the holiday, because they have no ties to such events. Countries all over the world don’t celebrate the holiday. Which makes perfect sense, as their histories vary depending on the past events.

 Are their similar holidays? 

The answer is yes. China has been celebrating their own version of Thanksgiving, called Gan’en Jie, longer than the United States has. For China it’s a very different holiday, oriented around the lunar calendar. In China they make foods such as, Chinese turkey or “fire chicken” a dish similar to an American Turkey, except it’s seasoned with Chinese spices and herbs.

Thanksgiving is a much more diverse holiday than it seems. Countries all over the world celebrate it in their own, very unique, ways. This shows that Thanksgiving means a lot to countries other than the United States, even countries across the ocean from them.