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Culture & Religion

Thanksgiving Holidays From Around the Globe

American Thanksgiving is hardly the only holiday of its kind.

Contrary to what your first-grade teacher taught you, Thanksgiving didn’t materialize out of nowhere when the pilgrims and Native Americans first broke bread. Rather, American Thanksgiving is one of many harvest celebrations observed across the globe. Here are some others:

Japan features a unique holiday called Kinrō Kansha no Hi, observed every year on November 23. A harvest celebration, Kinrō Kansha no Hi stands out from others because of its emphasis on being grateful for labor and communal spirit:

“Kinrō Kansha no Hi was created officially in 1948. It was intended to celebrate the rights of workers in post-World War II Japan. Today it is celebrated with labor organization-led festivities, and children creating crafts and gifts for local police officers.”

There are quite a few nations that directly cite the United States’ Thanksgiving tradition as the inspiration for their own. This is the case in Liberia, which was established by freed slaves in the 19th century, and Grenada, which began celebrating its iteration of the holiday after the 1983 U.S. military invasion.

For many in the U.S., the most famous non-American Thanksgiving is the one celebrated by our neighbors to the North on the second Monday of October. Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday can be traced all the way back to the 16th century explorer Martin Frobisher, though wasn’t made official until the late 1800s.

And as one of the commenters on this Mental Floss post states, “I celebrate Thanksgiving by reminding my American friends and relatives that in Canada we don’t call it ‘Canadian Thanksgiving.'”

Read on at Mental Floss to learn more about Thanksgiving traditions across the globe.

Photo credit: Sogno Lucido / Shutterstock


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