Thanksgiving may be a uniquely American celebration, but it’s not the only holiday where citizens of the world give thanks. Here’s a quick rundown of how the international community celebrates family and a plentiful harvest.
Canadian Thanksgiving is the international holiday most similar to American Thanksgiving, despite falling a month earlier on the second Monday in October every year. The celebration dates back to when arctic explorer Martin Frobisher, while searching for the Northwest Passage, instead landed in Newfoundland in 1578 and wanted to give thanks for a safe passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Canadians celebrate the day much like their neighbors to the South: with turkey, football games, and overeating with their families.
Korea’s Chuseok is a three-day harvest festival that typically falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. During the holiday, family members gather together to give thanks to their ancestors for an abundant harvest and eat traditional dishes, like Songpyeon, together.
Barbados’s Crop Over harvest festival dates back hundreds of years and, according to the country’s National Cultural Foundation, emerged out of the tensions in the meeting and merging of the island’s British and West African heritage. Today, the festival is a major holiday for the country and has evolved into an eight-week celebration of music, dancing, cultural presentations and more.
Mehregan, also referred to as the Festival of Autumn, is an ancient Iranian holiday and essentially the Persian version of Thanksgiving. It celebrates the fall season and harvest.
Erntedankfest, or the harvest festival of thanks, is celebrated in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other German-speaking countries. The fest is primarily a rural and a religious celebration held in the last week of September or the first week of October.