Special Report

9 Other Countries That Celebrate Thanksgiving

Canada
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1. Canada

The other Thanksgiving Americans are most likely to be familiar with is the Canadian Thanksgiving. Older than the American tradition, the first Canadian Thanksgiving is believed to have been held in 1578. The occasion, drawing inspiration from similar European holidays, was a way for early settlers to appreciate the fruits of a successful harvest.

Though the Canadian holiday is older than its American counterpart by more than 40 years, it has actually adopted some traditions from the American holiday. Leading up to and during the Revolutionary War, many American colonists loyal to the British Crown moved to Canada and brought some Thanksgiving traditions with them, including the iconic turkey. Today, the menu at a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration involves many of the foods Americans are familiar with, including pumpkin pie, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Unlike in America, however, Canadian Thanksgiving is held on the second Monday in October and is not a public holiday in every province.

Cityscape of Guiyang at night, China
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2. China

The Chinese celebrate an annual holiday around the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. The celebration, known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, typically falls in late September or early October, when the moon is fullest and brightest. Much like the American Thanksgiving, the festival originated as a holiday to express gratitude for the changing of the seasons and to celebrate the fall harvest.

There are several notable differences between Mid-Autumn Festival and American Thanksgiving. For one, the Chinese holiday is much older. The holiday’s roots can be traced back more than 2,500 years, long before Europeans ever set foot in the new world. Additionally, rather than Thanksgiving staple pumpkin pie, the favorite Chinese dessert is moon cake, a baked concoction filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus seeds, and duck eggs.

Cologne, Germany
Source: Thinkstock

3. Germany

The annual harvest festival in Germany, known as Erntedankfest, is typically held on the first Sunday in October. Not a family oriented holiday, Erntedankfest has less in common with the American tradition than harvest celebrations in may other countries. Celebrations throughout Germany, typically put on by Protestant and Catholic churches alike, are marked by parades, fireworks, music, and dancing. Additionally, while turkey is the favorite fowl among Americans, Germans are more likely to celebrate the harvest with chickens, hens, roosters, or geese.