International Thanksgiving Day!
The celebration of Thanksgiving and all it entails doesn’t stop when you hit the coast of the United States. Just as other cultures and continents contain different customs, they participate in Thanksgiving in their ways too!
You never hear much about the revels of other countries when it comes to universal holidays like Thanksgiving. Celebrating what you’re grateful for and the gratitude that comes with every day is more global than most think. It could be a fun thing for you and your family to do some digging and engage in activities that are considered traditions from your heritage and background for Thanksgiving 2020 and beyond!
The word ‘Erntedankfest’ translates to “harvest thank festival,” verbatim. The German language has a way with words, being brief and straight-shooting to the meaning. The Thanksgiving festival that is Erntedankfest falls in October, on its first Sunday. Something that differs from American thanksgivings in this German festivity is the communities do not stay comfortably at home with their closest friends and family. Instead, they parcel up their celebration necessities and make way to the town streets to partake in parades, music, and dancing, and the very centerpiece – eat the delicious food with chicken or goose as their main course.
Grenada, known as the spice island, officiated its Thanksgiving celebrations that are unlike other places. Back in the early 1980s, on October 25th, military troops came from the United States to aid Grenada in the restoration of their establishment when their leader, Maurice Bishop, a communist commander, died. So, this place doesn’t necessarily have connections of harvest-time to their Thanksgiving merriment. Some soldiers mentioned to the people of Grenada the approaching American holiday of Thanksgiving and its overall purpose to be gratuitous. To extend their gratitude for coming to their relief, the Grenada people created an American-style Thanksgiving for the U.S. soldiers. Ever since then, it has been commemorated as an official holiday in Grenada.
Similar to Grenada, the Netherlands celebration of Thanksgiving tethers into connection with America. Around the time the Mayflower came about, that helped settle numerous adults into the American colonies, Dutch people, funnily enough, were involved in the helpful settlement. About 40% of adults aboard the Mayflower originated from the Netherlands. So, because of this grand gesture, the Dutch observe and celebrate their deed on the 4th Thursday of each November, comparable with the traditional American date. The only difference is the natives of the Netherlands go to a church service, of non-denominational leaning, and rejoice with cookies and coffee following.
Japan has a little twist on their Thanksgiving translation. Kinrō Kansha no Hi is Japan’s “Labor Thanksgiving Day,” where the populace focuses on the hard work and service of the community. It is a day to express the gratitude of all the hardworking people of the collective, such as police officers, road workers, and the like. The holiday’s official reckoning is November 23rd. Kinrō Kansha no Hi emanates from an age-old tradition by the name of Niinamesai that surrounded itself with rice harvesting activity. The Japanese culture gets the ball rolling during this holiday by creating events where everyone is to mull over things that shape their community. Issues like the environment and the justice system are encouraged to recount and discuss among other neighbors.
Every year during May, Malaysian people celebrate their version of Thanksgiving, called Kaamatan. Kaamatan is a special occasion where the people of Malaysia are to show appreciation and gratitude to God for their accumulation of rice and mind the close to their rice harvest. Activities of Malaysia to commemorate this day begin with drinking tapai (wine made from rice) and carry on with dancing, playing customary games, and buffalo races!
Once more, the traditional American Thanksgiving was adopted by the international people of Liberia after freed slaves from the United States harked their way to civilization and founded Liberia in the early 1800s. The literal liberation formed so that other freed slaves could happen upon this place and, too, seek freedom and equality. This gratuitous time comes around every first Thursday of November. While Liberia holds their original holiday celebrations, the freed slaves still brought to Liberia the customary American Thanksgiving and retained the practices as to acclaim their homely inception. Of course, though, the Liberians do provide their classic native subtleties.
It is always important to remember the cultural differences outside of your own. There is so much to be grateful for every Thanksgiving and every day. Consider traveling with one of the programs at Globally Abroad to truly get a taste of both adopted and modified Thanksgiving upbringings and customs!
Social Media Intern at Globally Abroad
Rebekah but free to call her Bekah. In addition to her Associate’s in General Studies, she holds a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric, with a minor in Psychology. When she’s not writing she is working as a dance instructor at a high school. Apart from working, in general, Bekah enjoys reading a good true crime book, listening to true crime podcasts hiking and anything fitness.