A Brief History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated revolving around the idea of gratitude for a fruitful
harvesting season. Variations of this holiday are observed in many different countries around the world including USA, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Philippines, Liberia,
Grenada, Australia, etc.
Every country maintains their own distinct concept of ‘giving thanks’, and celebrate the holiday with their individualistic customs on different dates throughout the year.
The most generic historical significance to this holiday is denoted by the feast that was shared by both the pilgrims and Native Americans after a successful initial harvest in 1621. For hundreds of years after the initial feast, thanksgiving was commemorated by states and colonies individually. It was more than two centuries later, when Abraham Lincoln decreed a specific day for giving thanks in USA.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in USA
American thanksgiving is perhaps the most commonly known and identified. Thanksgiving is a declared federal holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday of November every year. It is a time of feasting, prayers, football, and most of all giving thanks. Turkeys and pumpkin pies are a predominantly the prominent choice of food for celebratory feasts in America.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in Germany
In Germany, ‘Erntedankfest’ is a customary annual festival based around the harvest season. It is a religious national holiday that is celebrated in October to pay tribute to a year of prosperity and good fortune. People can be seen wearing crowns made of fruits, flowers and grains. Popular food for celebration of thanksgiving in Germany includes turkeys, geese, hens and roosters.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in Liberia
Liberia is a country found in West Africa that celebrates a festival similar to thanksgiving. November 3rd is a dedicated public holiday in Liberia where people bring baskets of locally grown fruit to their church and then auction them off. This is followed by festivities such as music and dancing and family feasts.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in Japan
In Japanese culture, November 23rd marks the day of giving thanks. The holiday was established in 1948 to commemorate the rights of laborers. Celebrating thanksgiving in Japan correlates to celebrating the laborers and their intensive work and involvement with the community. Thanksgiving day in this country is more directed towards paying gratitude to people that help maintain the community such as the local police, farmers, teachers, etc. The revelries are arranged by labor organizations where people, especially children, are encouraged to bring presents and favors for the people that help maintain the society every day.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in The Netherlands
Thanksgiving is especially important to the Dutch people. Falling on every 4th Thursday in November, annually, the inhabitants of Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving at the churches of Leiden. The churches hold special services for the religious holiday to give thanks to people that were hospitable to the pilgrims in this city. Turkey is a staple dish for Thanksgiving Day in the country with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and apple pies as dessert.