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One of the most festive and traditional ways of celebrating Thanksgiving is annually observed in the United States. However, many countries also celebrate this day to give thanks to the previous year’s blessings, specifically harvest. Here are a few examples of Thanksgiving around the world:
- Canada – celebrates with family and a big feast
- China – eating roast pork and mooncakes
- Japan – children draw pictures and give them to servicepeople in their community
- Ghana – a harvest parade is held with chiefs and food is blessed
- India – the Pongal festival takes place and people eat boiled rice with milk, clarified butter, and jaggery (a mix of palm sugar and cane juice)
See the fact file below for more information on the Thanksgiving Around the World or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Thanksgiving Around the World worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
IN THE UNITED STATES
- It is believed that the Plymouth colonists first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1612 and shared a harvest feast with the Wampanoag Indians.
- More than two centuries after the first celebration, Americans considered Thanksgiving as one of the important holidays.
- Many children grow up learning that Thanksgiving is an important holiday in countries like the United States and Canada – this is true, but that does not mean other countries around the world don’t celebrate something similar.
- Since Thanksgiving is similar to a harvest festival, it is something that is celebrated worldwide, just on different days.
- Thanksgiving is very similar in the United States, but dates back much further than in Canada (as the United States is a much older country than Canada).
- Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and originated as a harvest festival.
- As with Canada, the United States gives generously to its poor and homeless citizens and provides food and often a hot, cooked Thanksgiving meal for them.
- Foods commonly served include most of the same foods as in Canada.
- Pumpkin pie is a very popular dessert to indulge in after Thanksgiving dinner in both countries.
- In Canada, Thanksgiving is a three-day weekend with the main celebration on the second Monday in October.
- The first Canadian Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on April 5, 1872 as a celebration of the Prince of Wales’ recovery from a major illness.
- Parliament declared Thanksgiving to be an annual holiday, and the official date was set in 1957.
- In French (one of Canada’s two official languages), Thanksgiving translates to Action de grace.
- Foods commonly served include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, and other autumn vegetables.
AROUND THE WORLD
- In Germany, Thanksgiving is called “Erntedankfest,” and is celebrated in early October.
- It is similar to American Thanksgiving, and it also includes large dinners made with harvest vegetables, as well as a parade (similar to the Macy’s parade in the U.S.).
- In German churches, the service includes an observance, some singing, and the presenting of the “harvest crown” to a “harvest queen.”
- Labor Thanksgiving Day is celebrated annually in Japan on the 23rd of November to celebrate labor and production, as well as to give thanks to one another.
- It is a national holiday and was adopted during the American occupation after World War II.
- Many children in Japan draw pictures on the holiday and give them to neighborhood policemen to thank them for their service to the community.
- Korea celebrates a day of thanks called “Chuseok,” which occurs in late September.
- Families celebrate this by telling stories, eating food, and paying their respects to elders.
- Typically, a dish called “Songpyeon” is eaten, which consists of rice kneaded into small cakes and filled with red beans, chestnuts, and other autumn ingredients.
- People celebrate by dancing, wrestling, and feasting.
- Rome’s version of Thanksgiving is a harvest festival called “Cerelia.” It is a day to honor the Goddess of Corn, Ceres. Cerelia is celebrated on October 4th every year.
- It is customary to feast on fruits, grains, and meat, as well as partake in music, dancing, and parades.
- The foods produced for Cerelia are a symbol of thanks from the Romans.
- In Ghana, “Homowo” is celebrated to give thanks in August and September. Ceremonies for this festival include a procession of chiefs through the major roads in the area, finely dressed. “Homowo” means “hooting at hunger.”
- Newly harvested crops are “blessed” and the people who eat them are purified before consuming them.
- The Chinese version of Thanksgiving is called “Chung Ch’ui,” also referred to as the August Moon Festival.
- It is a 3-day celebration that occurs in the middle of August and sees Chinese families celebrating the end of the harvest season with a roast pig and mooncakes, symbols of family unity and perfection.
- The Chinese also give their cakes to friends and family.
- In the Southern parts of India, people celebrate their harvest at the Pongal festival. This festival takes place in January.
- The festival is named after a sweet rice dish of the same name, which consists of boiled rice with milk, clarified butter, and jaggery (a mix of palm sugar and cane juice). Typically, Pongal is a community feast where neighbors come together to share crops and give thanks.
- Since many Pilgrims who migrated to the United States were born in the Netherlands, their records were kept in the Netherlands.
- To commemorate this, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in Pieterskerk (a Gothic church in Leiden).
- The hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden (on their way to the “New World”) is commemorated.
Thanksgiving Around the World Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Thanksgiving Around the World across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Thanksgiving Around the World worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the one of the most festive and traditional ways of celebrating Thanksgiving which is annually observed in the United States. However, many countries also celebrate this day to give thanks to the previous year’s blessings, specifically harvest.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Thanksgiving Around the World Facts
- Around the World
- Give Thanks in Letters
- What a Match!
- Thanksgiving Menu
- All Around Me
- Fill in the Blanks
- Two Thanksgivings
- Thanksgiving Crossword
- My Thanksgiving
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Link will appear as Thanksgiving Around the World Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 26, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.