The American holiday of Thanksgiving traces its roots all the way back to 1621, when colonists held a harvest feast with local natives. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln declared an official Thanksgiving day in late November. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to move the holiday a few days earlier, but after widespread discontent, eventually consented to make it an official holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November.
Over the years, specific traditions and customs associated with the holiday have evolved, from watching afternoon football games to marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The basic components of the holiday — celebrating food and the fall harvest and giving thanks with family — have remained over time.
These basic elements can be seen in national holidays in other parts of the world. Some of these holidays are feasts of harvest and thanks completely unrelated to the U.S. holiday, and others are versions of the American tradition, albeit with modifications. Many are held on or near the fourth Thursday in November, while others are as early as September. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed nine other countries and territories that celebrate a version of Thanksgiving.
Three countries in particular have Thanksgiving celebrations that are nearly identical with the American custom.
Canada, America’s neighbor to the north, shares many of the same Thanksgiving traditions, both culinary and cultural. Due in part to its proximity, traditions once unique to one country or the other have blended over the centuries.
Similarly, because Liberia was founded by freed American slaves, many American traditions, including Thanksgiving, are also celebrated in the West African nation.
In the 1800s, an American trader brought the feasting tradition to Norfolk Island, located east of Australia, and the tradition has remained.
The remaining countries on this list have a holiday either celebrating the autumn harvest or a celebration of gratitude, or some combination of the two. In Germany, an autumnal celebration known as Erntedankfest, is intended to celebrate the fruits of the fall harvest.
In Grenada, people celebrate and give thanks in formal ceremonies primarily in urban areas.
In China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, the celebration is tied to both giving thanks in some way and celebrating the harvest.
The are the nine countries that celebrate thanksgiving.