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In the U.S., Thanksgiving is typically a holiday where we give thanks, enjoy a traditional meal, and spend time with loved ones. Across the globe, there are other traditions, some similar and some very different. Here’s a look into how other cultures celebrate the holiday.
The Chinese celebrate the Chung Ch’ui, which honors the harvest moon. The festival falls on a day when the moon is roundest and brightest. Also known as Women’s Festival, friends, family, and spouses share their feelings and appreciation with loved ones. The Chinese gift moon cake as a symbol of gratitude to others. The Vietnamese celebrate Tet Trung Thu Festival in September or early October. Also known as the Children’s Festival, locals believe that children are symbols of innocence and purity, and therefore are the closest connection to the sacred world. To celebrate the festival, children hold lanterns and perform dances.
The Greeks celebrate a three-day festival to honor Demeter, who was the goddess of corn and grains. Similarly, the Italians honor the Roman harvest festival called Cerelia, which is celebrated in honor of Ceres, Goddess of Corn. Rather than a meal, this festival features music, parades,
a feast, games, and more. Germans celebrate Erntedankfest, which is often combined with family reunions. The holiday is usually celebrated in late September or early October and is sometimes considered a religious holiday. The festival can include volunteer work, attending mass, music, dancing, and large meals.
Brazil began celebrating Thanskgiving after one of its’ ambassadors visited the U.S. and enjoyed the celebration. The locals celebrate by expressing gratitude for an excellent harvest in addition to taking part in celebrations and festivities around town. Also very similar to the U.S., the Canadians celebrate Jour de l’Action de Grace in October, which includes a Thanksgiving meal. Barbados celebrates Crop Over, which features singing, dancing, feasting, music, and more.
Celebrated in mid-August, Korea celebrates Chuseok which lasts for three days. Families prepare a meal and remember their ancestors. Jewish families celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkot, which includes families eating a meal beneath their Sukkot for seven days. During this time, families reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert as referenced in the bible. Finally, Ghana celebrates Homowo, which starts in May and is a celebration of overcoming a terrible famine.