Parades, a twenty-some pound bird with all the fixings, football and spending time with loved ones are just some of the traditions associated with American Thanksgiving. Have you ever wondered how other families and cultures celebrate Thanksgiving? This is a question I recently started to consider, is Thanksgiving celebrated in other cultures, and if so how?
While it looks different all over the world, many countries have some type of holiday where people are giving thanks for a plentiful harvest, a year of good fortune or something along those lines. Showing children how various cultures commemorate important events is a great way to bring up other cultures and the world at large in a fascinating and meaningful way. Here are some of the ways nations around the world give thanks and celebrate the things most significant to them:
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
During the first Sunday of October German-speaking countries celebrate a religious holiday called Erntedankfest, where they give thanks for a year of prosperity. Cities hold festivities such as a parade where one wears a crown made of grain, flowers, and fruit called an Erntekrone and people celebrate with a meal that usually includes chickens, hens and geese.
In Japan, Kinrō Kansha no Hi is celebrated every November 23rdto honor hard work and community involvement. Today merriments of this day include different labor forces putting on festivities and children making crafts for the local policemen.
Canadian Thanksgiving, or l’Action de grâce, is similar to the United States’ version of the holiday. It is observed during the second Monday of October and it is celebrated with a feast of turkey as well as with parades.
These are just a few countries that celebrate a version of Thanksgiving; others include Liberia, The Netherlands, Grenada, China, Vietnam, South India, Brazil, Ghana and many more. It is so fascinating to think that a holiday so special to us in America is also happening in unique, momentous ways all around the world.
To help you and your child learn about Thanksgiving traditions around the world, we created a worksheet where your child can compare their Thanksgiving to one in a different country. This can be a great starting point for learning more about some of the amazing, distinctive cultures across the globe! Encourage your child to use resources such as informational websites, books, or maybe even interviewing a friend or neighbor with a different cultural background. Have the happiest of Thanksgivings and enjoy whatever traditions you may celebrate in your household!