Where:
Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World

Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World

by Anne Shirley 2 months ago
Show on the map
2 comments

Table of contents

  • Canada
  • Germany
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • Barbados
Show on the map

Thanksgiving Day began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year. It has always been associated with being profoundly American. Due to popular culture, every year people would see at least one movie that features a happy family enjoying a bountiful dinner with stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes. Nevertheless, celebrating gratitude is more universal than one would think.

Thanksgiving is not solely an American holiday. So many other nations have a designated day celebrating mother nature's bounty and showing gratitude. Thanksgiving traditions may be different, but the underlying sentiment of all these holidays is the same. It is a chance to spend time with family, friends, and close relatives and reflect on what is most important in life. Some of the festivities celebrate the start of a new lunar cycle, some commemorate colonial migrations to America, and others celebrate the natural gifts given by nature. If you want to add a few cultural experiences to your travel bucket list, here are some of the Thanksgiving celebrations worldwide.

Canada
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
H Tasting Lounge
#28 of 788 Italian restaurants in Vancouver, Canada
1601 Bayshore Dr., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
ClosedOpens at 11:30AM

Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the second Monday in October. The Canadian Thanksgiving is not as grand a celebration as it is in the United States, but it shares the same name in English and is referred to as “Action De Grace” in French-speaking states such as Quebec. An interesting fact: the Canadian Thanksgiving feast predates the American by 40 years. It was reportedly celebrated in 1578 when English explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks for a successful voyage to Newfoundland.
Since Canadian Thanksgiving falls on a Monday, it is generally acceptable to enjoy the holiday feast at any point during the long weekend. The Canadian Thanksgiving feast is almost exactly similar to the American consisting of roast turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin pie.
To experience some of the best Thanksgiving meals in Canada, do visit H Tasting Lounge
in Vancouver and Maple Leaf Tavern in Toronto.

Germany
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Google
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Google
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Gasthaus Zur Glocke
#77 of 14647 restaurants in Berlin, Germany
Bölschestraße 31, Berlin, Germany
Open now 5PM - 9PM
Schnitzels
Schnitzels

This dish is popular all over the world. Its name is derived from the German word meaning "a slice". Delicious schnitzels can be made from any kind of meat - delicate chicken fillet, wholesome pork, and beef. The meat is traditionally breaded before frying.

The German equivalent of Thanksgiving is called “Erntedankfest” which translates to a harvest festival of thanks. It is a religious holiday that often takes place on the first Sunday in October. The rural areas and religious groups take the harvest festival concept more literally and use the opportunity to give thanks and honor their harvest. In major cities, it is celebrated as a church service followed by a parade. During Erntedankfest, celebrants may carry an “Erntekrone” – a harvest crown made of grains, fruits, and flowers, presented to a designated Harvest queen. The holiday isn’t just exclusive to Germany. Most German-speaking countries also take part in the festivities, including Austria and Switzerland.
If you are visiting Germany during Erntedankfeast, do join the parade in the city you are visiting. Our recommendations are Winzerstube and Gasthaus Zur Glocke to try some delicious local foods during Erntedankfest.

South Korea
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Soigné
#11 of 116398 restaurants in Seoul, South Korea
Sinsa-dong, 스퀘어 2층, Seoul, South Korea
ClosedOpens at 12PM

Korea’s Thanksgiving holiday is called the “Chuseok” Harvest festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar moon cycle. It happens to be on the same day as the Chinese and Vietnamese harvest festivals. Much like the American Thanksgiving, families come together to welcome the harvest season and spend quality time with each other, while emphasizing respect and the commemoration of elders and ancestral roots. There are special dishes made from freshly harvested rice, mushrooms, and taro. “Songpyeon” a traditional rice cake is one of the most important foods consumed on Chuseok. Family members come together a night before Chuseok to make Songpyeon a bonding activity. Making the rice cakes together illustrates the importance of family in Korean culture. This holiday also calls for gift-giving between family members and friends. These gifts are mostly food items such as steaks, fresh fruit, and gift baskets with necessities.
Though Chuseok is primarily a festival celebrated in the comforts of a Korean home, you can try Soigne and Onjieum in Seoul to experience some authentic local Korean food during the festival.

Japan
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Joël Robuchon Restaurant
#1 of 83197 restaurants in Tokyo, Japan
Mita, 1 Chome−13−1 恵比寿ガーデンプレイス内, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan
ClosedOpens at 11:30AM

Japan’s variation of Thanksgiving is “Kinro Kansha no Hi” – Labor Thanksgiving Day. The origins of Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving have evolved from an ancient rice harvest festival known as “Niinamesai”. It was originally a holiday celebrated to welcome the harvest festival. But as Japan progressed and evolved into an industrial country rather than an agrarian one, the celebration has switched to honoring workers instead of only farmers.
Today the public observes it as a national holiday, but there is no huge feasting like during the American holiday. Children often make thank-you cards for policemen, firefighters, and other municipal workers. One of the biggest celebrations takes place in Nagano that praises the environment, peace, and human rights. The Nagano Ebisuko Fireworks festival is celebrated on the same day and is one of the most stunning fireworks displays in the Japanese calendar year.
If you happen to be in Japan during Kinro Kansha no Hi, visit Joel Robuchon restaurant in Tokyo and Sobanomi in Nagano for a hospitable Japanese feast.

Brazil
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Oro
#1 of 48711 restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Av. Gen. San Martin, 889, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22441-015
Closes soon: 2PMReopens 7PM
Moqueca
Moqueca

Brazilian thick fish soup or stew with salmon slices, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and coconut milk. Spicy thick fish stew is usually cooked and served in clay pots.

Brazil’s Thanksgiving origin story is kind of a funny one. Apparently, the Brazilian ambassador went on a trip to the United States in November of 1940. He got a chance to experience the way Americans celebrated Thanksgiving and loved the tradition. On his return to Brazil, he proposed that they create their own version of the holiday. The Brazilian Thanksgiving is called “Dia de Acao de Gracas”, and it is celebrated on the same day as the American holiday. But Brazil’s Thanksgiving has a religious element to it, which begins with a church service in the morning, where people give thanks for the upcoming autumn harvest season. After that, a carnival ensues for the rest of the day. On Dia de Acao de Gracas the Brazilian feast is similar to the American Thanksgiving feast, except they replace the cranberry sauce with “Jabuticaba” –– a grape tree fruit sauce.
After the carnival, you can try some of the best dishes at Oro restaurant in Rio de Janeiro and Helena restaurant in Sao Paulo.

Barbados
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Photo from Restaurant Guru
Champers Restaurant Barbados
#1 of 692 restaurants in Bridgetown, Barbados
Skeetes Hill, Bridgetown, Saint Michael, Barbados
ClosedOpens at 5:30PM
Causa
Causa

Visiting any market in Peru, you will find two things: potatoes and avocados. For the preparation of the traditional causa, these two ingredients are laid in layers, as for casseroles. Then the dish is cut into slices and served cold. Also, canned tuna, meat or a hard-boiled egg can be added to the causa.

The small Caribbean island country of Barbados has a version of Thanksgiving, and it is called “Crop Over”. It is a form of harvest festival and primarily celebrates the end of the sugarcane harvest season. The Crop Over is a 300-year-old tradition that has its roots in the 17th century. At that time, the festivities included singing, dancing, and feasting. Drinking competitions were also part of the celebration.
Today, the Crop Over has been revitalized by the Barbados Tourist Board and a group of passionate Barbadians. Beginning in June, the locals and tourists that travel to experience the festivities celebrate it for weeks. The celebrations can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. The Crop Over has become one of the largest festivals, joining the ranks of the carnival celebrated in Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago.
If you are in Barbados during the Crop Over, enjoy the carnival and have a lovely feast by the beach at La Cabane and Champers restaurant in Bridgetown.

Do you have unique Thanksgiving traditions in your family? Share them with us in a comment section below. 

Add your comment

2 comments

A
Aisha (Guest) 2 months ago Request content removal

As I grew up, I would watch the Macy's parade and football with my parents and brothers. And we had too much food, of course. Thanks for your post, I was really curious to know that the Canadian thanksgiving is older than the American.

1 0 | Reply
Show replies (1)arrow
Show more (-4)arrow