7. South Korea
Though South Korea is half a world away, people in the country celebrate a holiday very similar to the American Thanksgiving. The holiday, known as Chuseok Day, is held in the mid to late September, this year falling on the 15th of the month. Koreans typically spend Chuseok Day with their family and give thanks to their ancestors.
Chuseok is also a day for Koreans to celebrate the autumn harvest. Just as in America, this is often done by sharing a meal with family members. Celebrations across the country are marked with traditional national customs, including ancestor memorial services, Korean wrestling, and Korean circle dances.
Founded by freed American slaves 1847, Liberia’s culture and government is influenced heavily by the United States. The country modelled its founding document after the U.S. constitution, and it practices some of the America’s most iconic cultural traditions, not the least of which is Thanksgiving. In Liberia, Thanksgiving typically involves a church service, after which harvest crops are auctioned off. Families then return home to feast, much like in America.
There are also some minor differences between Thanksgiving in Liberia and the United States. While the American holiday is held on the last Thursday in November, the Liberian Thanksgiving is held on the first Thursday in November. More importantly perhaps are the culinary differences. Because turkeys and pumpkins are hard to come by in Liberia, roast chicken and mashed cassavas usually comprise a traditional Thanksgiving meal in the West African nation.
Similar to China, the Vietnamese equivalent to American Thanksgiving is held on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar. According to Vietnamese folklore, the holiday, known as Têt-Trung-Thu Festival or the Children’s Festival, is held as a way for parents, once busy with the harvest, to make amends with their children who may have felt neglected.
While the origins of the holiday vary considerably from the American tradition, many of the fundamentals are the same. The Vietnamese use the holiday to give thanks and celebrate with family.