Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Around the World

Turkey, Cook, Pie, Hat, Cook Hat Officially, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November while Canada designated the second Monday of October  as theirs.

It is said that Canadians petitioned to get their own Thanksgiving to celebrate not being American.  Canada does have a long history of Thanksgiving beginning in the 1850's when it was used to give thanks to God but it was scheduled in the middle of the week.

By 1908, it was moved to a Monday in October after the railroads lobbied the government so people could travel to visit home over a three day weekend.

In 1957, the government proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the second Monday of October from then on so they didn't have to keep re-proclaiming it yearly.  Its been that date since.

There are other countries who celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving.

1. Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, a harvest festival, the first Sunday of October where they give thanks for a good year and good fortune.  Celebrations could include a parade, or food including fattened roosters, chickens, geese, and hens, although turkeys are starting to become more popular.

2. On Novemeber 23, Japan has Kinrō Kansha no Hi which celebrates hard work and community involvement.  Its been an official holiday since 1948 when it was set up to celebrate the rights of workers, hence the name Labor Thanksgiving Day.  There are all sorts of organized festivities including having children make gifts and crafts for the local police department.

3. Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 25th to remember the United States help in restoring order after their leader died in 1983.  At the time, soldiers told the locals about their upcoming Thanksgiving so they put together a celebration in secret complete with turkey and the trimmings to surprise them.   Every year, they have a celebration to remember the time.

4. Liberia began as a country set up by freed slaves who returned to Africa from America and they have their own version of Thanksgiving by filling churches with cornucopias filled with local fruits such as bananas, mangoes, etc.  These are auctioned off and then people return home to celebrate the holiday.  In addition, there are concerts and dancing which have become part of the holiday.

5. In Netherlands, specifically Leiden, they celebrate the people who left to settle in America.  They have a church service to remember them before ending with cookies and coffee.

6. Norfolk Island, a small island sitting between Australia and New Zealand, celebrates Thanksgiving due to the whalers who used to stop by.  Back in the 1890's a whaler suggested they decorate the local church with palm leaves and lemons to attract other sailors to celebrate the holiday. Since then, people decorated the church with cornstalks and fresh flowers, and have brought fruits and vegetables in celebration.

Just a peak into the world around us.  Have a great day and let me know what you think.

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