Sign2Day’s staff hopes you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World
1. Canada: It may surprise most to learn that Canada’s first Thanksgiving celebration actually predates America’s first holiday. In 1578, an expedition led by the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony to give thanks for the safety of their fleet.
2. Germany: The German equivalent of Thanksgiving is Erntedankfest, or “harvest festival of thanks.” During a typical Erntedankfest, celebrants may carry an Erntekrone — harvest crown of grains — fruit and flowers to the church in a solemn procession.
3. Liberia: Freed slaves from the United States established Liberia in West Africa in the early 1820s with help from the American Colonization Society. In the early 1880s, Liberia’s government passed an act declaring the first Thursday of November as National Thanksgiving Day. Today, Liberia’s Thanksgiving tables boast items such as spicy roast chicken and mashed cassavas. Live music and dancing are also part of the Thanksgiving tradition.
4. Japan: Japan’s variation of Thanksgiving, Kinro Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day) evolved from an ancient rice harvest festival, Niinamesai. Today, the public observes it as a national holiday, but with none of the huge feasting you’ll see on the American holiday. To mark the occasion, children often make thank-you cards for policemen, firefighters or other municipal workers.
5. Norfolk Island: This remote island in the Pacific Ocean is another unlikely place for a holiday celebration with American roots. Its Thanksgiving tradition dates back to the mid-1890s, when the American trader Isaac Robinson decided to put on an American-style Thanksgiving service in the All Saints Church in Kingston.
6. Grenada: Every October 25, people on this West Indian island celebrate their own Thanksgiving Day. It marks the anniversary of a joint Caribbean and U.S. military invasion of Grenada in 1983 to oust a corrupt government. To show their own gratitude, many people in towns and villages hosting the soldiers invited them to dine and celebrate with them, even surprising them with such non-native island foods as turkey, cranberry and potatoes.
7. The Netherlands: The people of today’s Leiden continue to celebrate their ties with the Mayflower’s passengers by holding non-denominational church services on the fourth Thursday of November.
8. Puerto Rico: After becoming a territory of the United States in the late 19th century, its residents enthusiastically adopted many of the traditions of the holiday. They celebrate it on the same day (fourth Thursday in November) and put their own twist on the traditional turkey feast.