What Are the Other Countries That Celebrate Thanksgiving Besides the United States?
Between the classic TV episodes, all the NFL football you can handle, and so many leftovers you’ll be eating turkey dinners for days, you would think Thanksgiving is solely an American holiday. However, you’d be wrong. People all around the world show thanks for their good fortune with big family meals. The meals might not all look like a classic American Thanksgiving dinner, but the purpose is the same. So what are the other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving besides the United States? Let’s take a look.
What are other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving?
The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images
The United States doesn’t have a vice grip on Thanksgiving celebrations. The other countries that observe their versions of the holiday don’t always serve turkey, and the holiday doesn’t always happen in November, but the reasons to celebrate are similar.
Of the countries that celebrate Thanksgiving, Canada might be among the first to do it. The Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October every year. It became an official holiday in 1879, but the origins date to 1578, according to Modern Farmer. That would make Canda
Instead of being tied to a time in history, China’s autumn holiday follows the moon phases. It happens on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, according to MarketWatch.
Thanksgiving isn’t a national holiday in Germany, and it’s not even called Thanksgiving. Erntedankfest is a harvest festival that happens in September or October, depending on the region. There’s also a religious element to the celebration since the Protestant and Catholic churches in larger cities get involved in the festivities, according to The German Way & More.
People in the United States often appreciate their family or good fortune on Thanksgiving. The people of Grenada give thanks for the United States itself. The October 25 holiday commemorates U.S. troops intervening and stopping a political coup in 1983.
The Japanese put their renowned work ethic on hold for Labor Thanksgiving Day on November 23 every year.
Chuseok, complete with food and family gatherings, is the Korean version of Thanksgiving. | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Chuseok is a three-day celebration where Koreans celebrate the harvest, their family, and their ancestors. It’s one of the most important holidays on the calendar, according to Asia Society.
Like Grenada, Liberia is one of the other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving, and its celebration also has ties to the United States. Freed American slaves founded Liberia, and they brought the Thanksgiving traditions with them. The holiday happens on the first Thursday of November.
Many of the pilgrims that landed in North America made their way there from the Netherlands via England. The Dutch city of Leiden has an October 3 holiday every year that resembles Thanksgiving in the United States.
It’s an Australian island, but Norfolk is hundreds of miles away from both Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. According to MentalFloss, whale hunters from the United States introduced Thanksgiving to the locals in the late 19th century, and the Islanders have been celebrating ever since.
What is Thanksgiving’s origin and history in the U.S.?
Bill Clinton and other U.S. presidents typically pardon a turkey on Thanksgiving. | Photo stringer/Getty Images
Modern-day Thanksgiving usually comes complete with turkey, potatoes, and, if you’re unlucky, extra helpings of hated dishes such as corn pudding, green bean casserole, and creamed onions. None of that was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.
In November 1621, the pilgrims who survived the Mayflower’s first winter in North America welcomed native Americans for a fall feast. The group likely ate corn, deer, and fowl, among other dishes, according to the History Channel. The second new-world Thanksgiving happened in 1623.
Thanksgiving as we know it started with first President George Washington’s 1789 proclamation. Presidents John Adams and James Madison followed suit, New York state made Thanksgiving a holiday in 1817, and Abraham Lincoln made the fourth Thursday of November a national holiday in 1863.
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