10 thanksgiving festivals around the wOrld


1) Thanksgiving is largely associated with the United States of America – the citizens of the USA  put so much tender care and preparation in to this annual celebration and day of appreciation on the 4th Thursday of November; by gathering together around the family dinner table and remembering to be grateful for all the good provisions that have come their way over the last year, while eating a traditional American thanksgiving dinner – but did you know that thanks giving and harvest festivals are also honored in other countries – so read or listen on to find out about thanksgiving around the world …


2) Further north in Canada thanksgiving day falls on the 2nd Monday in October and has done since the 17th century – it was brought to the land of the Rockie mountains, grizzly bears and the maple leaf by the French who voyaged to Canada to make it their home. Today the Canadian thanksgiving day is an official national holiday and is respected in much the same way as their US neighbours – that is to say with gratitude for the past 12 months of sustenance and a family feast very similar to the thanksgiving dinner their US counterparts eat (usually) consisting of roast turkey, roast or mashed potatoes, carrots, greens, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy, pumpkin pie, apple cider and other yummy foods and beverages !


3) The 4th or last Thursday of November is the chosen date to give thanks in Brazil. The Brazilian thanks giving day is called  Dia de Acao de Gacas and the special meal the Brazilian South American people eat on this day is rather similar to thanksgiving meals in North America. However the Brazilian day of gratitude starts with a special service at church to say thank you to God for the natural autumnal produce yielded from the land. After church the day becomes a giant street party with much dancing and merriment !


4) Crop Over is the name of the harvest festival celebrated in Barbados. It lasts between the 2nd week of June through to July. In bygone decades horses and carts containing freshly harvested sugar cane used to be adorned with flowers, an effigy wearing a black top hat and black coat would be seated in one of the carts to remind the workers of their harsh treatment. Today Crop Over is a much less somber event, characterized by traditional Barbadian dancing, sugar cane cropping competitions and a carnival procession. Curried chicken, coconut bread, sugar cane juice and rum punch are some of the foods and drinks enjoyed during this now fun event!


5) In Ghana – West Africa – giving thanks for the abundance that sprouts forth from the Ghanaian soil doesn’t just last a day but 4 months, during the rainy season which is from May up to August, in a festival called Homowo. The people give thanks for the rains and plant crops such as millit and maize. Towards the end of August the Ghanaian people spend special time with their families and eat a traditional fish and nut meal.


6) A special holiday called Sukkot – in Israel – is dedicated to giving thanks to God and in remembrance of the Jewish peoples biblical ancestors wandering the wilderness for 40 years in the days of Moses. Sukkot can fall any where between late September to late October. During this holiday which is also known as the feast of tabernacles, the Jewish people put up a temporary makeshift family dwelling place and this is where fresh fruits and vegetables plus Challah, Kugels and other traditional Jewish foods are eaten during this 7 day period of fun and feasting.


7) The Olive Harvest Festival is a special day set aside each year in  Palestine on the 1st Friday of November in gratitude of the various crops that bears fruit – excuse the pun – @ this time of year. A well prepared harvest meal consisting of flatbread, roasted almonds and chicken is usually cooked outside over an open fire. Traditional Palestinian songs are sung and traditional Palestinian dances are danced!


8) Onam is one of many different harvest festivals that takes place in India. It is celebrated annually in either August or September – which in India is the first month of the Malayalam year. The festivities go on for 10 days and many events take place, including the gathering of flowers made in to floral carpets, a snake boat race, tug of war / two teams pulling on rope against each other and prayers offered @ temples to gods and deities in thankfulness for a sizable harvest and to ask for the following harvest to be as plentiful. Many women in India celebrating Onam wear traditional Sarees and favourite rice and spicy soups and curry dishes are cooked and enjoyed!


9) Any date between the 8th of September up to the 7th of October – depending on when the moon is full – is when the harvest moon festival is celebrated in China. Not only do families gather together to give much appreciation for a plentiful rice and wheat harvest and eat mooncakes and release beautiful paper lanterns in to the moonlight sky – but also gratitude is shown for happy marriages and prayers also play a large part of this festival. The Chinese people pray for all the good things life has to offer including long life, romance and good luck. Obviously the moon is central to this Chinese harvest time festival. The lunar energies are believed to bring about healing and transformation, in some parts of China making offerings to moon deities are still practiced today. 


Giving Thanks To You Now For Pinning Me x

10) So we’ve looked @ thanksgiving around the world but let’s now turn our attention to the United Kingdom, which has one of the oldest forms of remembering to give thanks on a special day. The harvest festival has been observed in conjunction with the harvest full moon dating back to Pagan times in the 9th century. @ this autumnal time, among other things, the Pagans would make corn dolls in praise of their Corn Goddess. Now this harvest time custom is dedicated to giving thanks for the cornucopia of natures freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. It used to be acknowledged each year on August the 1st, farmers would bake bread using the freshly harvested wheat and then donated the loaves to Catholic churches near by. However Henry the “Self Indulgent” VIII broke ties with Catholicism during the era he graced history in the 16th century. In the 21st century the Harvest Festival is still practiced on or as close to the autumn equinox in September with singing hymns and offering foods @ church and donating them to food banks. 


Quote By


while i breathe i hOpe


Dear benevolent universe,
during this harvest time of thanks giving
may the moon continue to govern the tides,
may the rain continue to water the soil,
may the sun continue to shine on the land,
may the crops continue to grow
and may every man, woman and child
in every place in the wOrld
be blessed with food and water,
just as I am blessed with food and water.


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