Growing up, we were taught that Thanksgiving was a celebration that happened between the settlers and the Native Americans. Besides the fact that that is not the case, it also gives us the idea that the United States is the only country to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is also not true. I’ve done some digging and have found some other cultures who celebrate Thanksgiving:
- Nunavut – Canada
This celebration is older than our Thanksgiving, and was first started when an English navigator and his fleet wanted to celebrate their safety. We get our tradition of turkey as a staple Thanksgiving food from this celebration, when Loyalists started moving from Europe.
- Kinro Kansha no Hi – Japan
The meaning of the name is Labor Thanksgiving Day. Japan’s rendition of Thanksgiving comes from the celebration of their annual rice festival. This tradition is so deep, it goes all the way back to the seventh century. After World War II, it’s significance shifted more towards celebrating the right to work. It has turned into something that closely resembles our Veteran’s Day, but for first responders, which is very fitting for the name.
- National Thanksgiving Day – Liberia
Taking traditions from America once slaves were freed, those from West Africa were sent home and formed Liberia with hopes of spreading Christianity. Because the celebration started with religious influences, many gather at churches. At the church, there are auctions for baskets filled with local fruits, they roast chicken, and dance together to live music.
- “Brits-giving” – United Kingdom
I found this one pretty interesting. While not an official holiday, a fair amount of people living in the United Kingdom celebrate Thanksgiving along with the United States. The article where I got this from says that they celebrate it basically because they’ve experienced it somehow in the past and have just stuck with it.
- Crop Over – Barbados
This celebration is huge and goes on for weeks! It begins at the end of a harvest, like many other countries; for Barbados, it happens to be sugarcane. The festivities include dancing, singing, feasting (of course!) and competitions for climbing a grease-covered pole. Their celebration is near the top of the list for the largest festivals.