How Other Countries Celebrate Thanksgiving

As history tells it, the tradition of Thanksgiving started in 1621, when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a harvest feast. But Thanksgiving wasn’t considered a holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving Day was to be held each year in November.

Today, we traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving with a gathering of friends and family with a harvest of Turkey, stuffing, vegetables, and, of course, pumpkin pie.

However, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated the same in every country, or even in the same month!

Find out how other countries around the world celebrate this traditional holiday.

Canadian Thanksgiving, or l’Action de grâce, was first celebrated in 1578, when explorer Martin Frobisher gave thanks for his fleet’s safe travels to what is now present day Nunavut.

Although older than the American tradition, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in similar fashion with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Over the years, the day in which Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated had varied. But since 1957, Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated on the second Monday in October.

Norfolk Island
The American tradition of Thanksgiving extended into the Norfolk Island in the late 1800’s. The tradition began when American trader, Issac Robinson, visited the island and proposed holding a traditional Thanksgiving at All Saints Church.

Although Robinson passed away shortly after bringing the tradition over to Norfolk Island, the tradition stuck and is celebrated by locals to this day.

Instead of turkey and stuffing, Norfolk Island residents celebrate the holiday on the last Wednesday in November with pork, chicken, and bananas.

Celebrated every year on November 23, Japan’s national holiday, Kinrō Kansha no Hi, or Labor Thanksgiving Day, is similar to both American Thanksgiving and Labor Day. Kinrō Kansha no Hi traces back more than 2,000 years and is derived from ancient harvest festival rituals.

Officially created in 1948, the modern celebration of Kinrō Kansha no Hi is held to commemorate labor workers with labor organized festivities, and children creating arts and crafts for police officers.

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