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  • Zineb Outnouna

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving was not the official United States holiday until November 1863, the period of the civil war. President Abraham Lincoln declared it an official holiday to improve relations between southern and northern states and the U.S. and tribal nations. People perform different activities on this date to celebrate the occasion, such as enjoying a Turkey feast at dinner or visiting the church.

Every nation in the world has a unique way of celebrating Thanksgiving. Continue reading to learn how different countries commemorate Thanksgiving.


Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October every year. There is no significant difference in celebration from America. But the origin of Thanksgiving in Canada dates back to 1579, around 40 years before the advent of Thanksgiving in America.

Martin Frobisher was the one who started celebrating the day to express their gratitude for staying safe in their dangerous voyage. Since then, Canadians have been celebrating Thanksgiving.


Similar to Thanksgiving, Germans celebrate Erntedankfest on the first Sunday in October. Compared to American and Canadian Thanksgiving, it is a more religious holiday, which is why most events are held in churches. Germans have a unique custom where they take woven baskets of fruits and nuts to church. After a long parade, the food is given to the needy. It is a day to specifically thank the divine power for a good harvest and for sharing the bounty with less fortunate people.


Japan also celebrates a variation of Thanksgiving known as Kinro Kanshan no Hi. It is a labor Thanksgiving Day whose roots can be found in an ancient rice harvest festival, celebrated in the 17th century A.D. The authorities during the Meiji Era chose 23rd November for the festivities.

Since then, people have been celebrating the day on the same date. However, you will not administer any festivity similar to America. Generally, labor organization organizes events to make people aware of the importance of community involvement and hard work.


The Chuseok Harvest Festival is a Korean version of Thanksgiving and is celebrated on the 15th of the 8th month on the lunar calendar. Korean celebrations are pretty similar to the ones celebrated around the world. The Koreans meet their family and friends at their ancestral homes on this day.

They eat delicious meals and spend some time together to celebrate the day. They have a traditional lunch that includes dishes like dingdong and Spongpyeon. Koreans celebrate this day to pay homage to their ancestors, believing they have blessed their families to prosper.


Liberia’s government passed an act in the early 1880s indicating National Thanksgiving Day on the first Thursday of November. You will see people coming with large baskets filled with mangoes and papayas that they offer to local families as a feast. People enjoy dancing and live music with their friends and families during festivities.

Bottom Line

Even though each nation uniquely observes Thanksgiving, they all make an effort to express thankfulness for what they have in various ways. Every nation makes an effort to enjoy the day with loved ones and make sure to help those who are less fortunate.

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