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Thanksgiving Defined

Fo Blessing to you this holiday season! ~LGR Staff

I don’t know if the holiday of “Thanksgiving” is celebrated around the world. I assume it is only in America. This year is my son, Felix’s, first Thanksgiving where he will be old enough to have real turkey breast for the first time. We’ve tried giving him meat before, but he doesn’t seem to like it. But then again I probably wouldn’t like pureed poultry either.

As a new parent, I’m wondering how I explain this holiday of over-eating to my son when he is old enough to understand. When I was a child it was explained to me, basically, that we were symbolically reenacting the first Thanksgiving dinner between the pilgrims and the native Americans. Being part native American, I was torn on how to feel about this holiday. I’m still torn. explains Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious traditions, but today is celebrated in a more secular manner…Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year.

Those other places where it is celebrated?


The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival (Erntedankfest) is an early October, German festival. The festival has a significant religious component to it but also, like its North American counterpart, includes large harvest dinners (consisting mostly of autumn crops) and parades. The Bavarian beer festival Oktoberfest generally takes place within the vicinity of Erntedankfest.


In the West Indian island of Grenada, there is a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on October 25. Even though it bears the same name, and is celebrated at roughly the same time as the American and Canadian versions of Thanksgiving, this holiday is unrelated to either of those celebrations. Instead the holiday marks the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of the island in 1983, in response to the deposition and execution of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.


Korean Thanksgiving Day (Chuseok) is a harvest celebration, which is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, typically in late September, early October.


Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi?) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday, which was adopted during the American occupation after World War II, cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks. It has roots in an ancient harvest ceremony (Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?)) celebrating hard work.


In the West African country of Liberia, which beginning in 1820, was colonized by free African Americans (most of whom had been formerly enslaved), Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November.

The Netherlands

Many of the Pilgrims who migrated to the Plymouth Plantation had resided in the city of Leiden from 1609–1620, many of whom had recorded their birth, marriages and deaths at the Pieterskerk. To commemorate this, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the Pieterskerk, a Gothic church in Leiden, to commemorate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World.

Norfolk Island

In the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday of November, similar to the pre-World War II American observance on the last Thursday of the month. This means the Norfolk Island observance is the day before or six days after the United States’ observance. The holiday was brought to the island by visiting American whaling ships.

For more on this historic holiday, read HERE.



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