Thanksgiving may be seen as an American holiday, but the United States isn't the only place in the world where people give thanks annually. And it's definitely not the first country in the world to begin the tradition.
Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November, the American version of Thanksgiving traces its origins to the Plymouth colonists in 1621. Later, in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln established the tradition as an official holiday. Of course, many Americans and others around the world had already been celebrating the end of the harvest season for centuries.
While the American Thanksgiving with its turkey dinner may be the best-known holiday of gratitude, people around the world gather together to give thanks each autumn, with some nations even declaring an official holiday. Traditions and histories may differ from country to country, but gratitude and celebration are universal values.
Here's a look at eight countries around the world that celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving:
Long before European settlers embarked for the Americas, the Chinese were already celebrating their own version of Thanksgiving. In fact, the tradition can be traced back at least 2,500 years.
Known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinese celebrate the holiday around the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. This means it typically occurs in late September or early October, during the moon's fullest and brightest period.
Along with the festivities, the Chinese traditionally enjoy moon cakes, which contain duck eggs, ground lotus seeds and sesame seeds.
Liberia was founded by freed American slaves after the Civil War, leading to its government and culture being strongly influenced by the United States.
One of the cultural practices adopted by the African nation is Thanksgiving. Held on the first Thursday of each November, the holiday typically includes a church service, a crop auction and then a feast with family.
Instead of turkey and pumpkins, Liberians traditionally enjoy chicken and mashed cassavas during the holiday.
Known as Kinrō Kansha no Hi, or Labor Thanksgiving Day, the Japanese holiday traces its origins back some 2,000 years. Celebrated on November 23, the holiday is like a combination of American Thanksgiving and Labor Day.
During the day, the Japanese give thanks for workers' rights, with different celebrations taking place throughout the country.
Although it's no longer widely celebrated, many Germans - especially in rural areas - still celebrate Erntedankfest. The traditional harvest celebration is marked by fireworks, parades, dancing and music.
Taking place on the first Sunday of October, the festivities are typically hosted by churches. Instead of turkey, Germans usually eat geese or chicken.
Taking place annually in mid to late September, Chuseok Day is very similar to American Thanksgiving. Koreans normally spend the day with their families, enjoying each other's company as well as a lot of food.
During the day, Koreans give thanks for their ancestors and also for the autumn harvest. Instead of football, Korean wrestling and circle dances are enjoyed during the festive day.
You've likely heard of Canadian Thanksgiving, but did you know it's actually older than the American tradition?
Historians believe the first Canadian Thanksgiving took place all the way back in 1578, when European settlers joined together in gratitude for a bountiful harvest. Today, Canadians celebrate similarly to their American neighbors, albeit on the second Monday of October.
Vietnam's Têt-Trung-Thu Festival, or Children's Festival, is celebrated similarly to China's Mid-Autumn Festival, and during the same time.
Traditionally, parents make amends to their children for not spending enough time with them during the busy harvest season. Like in the U.S., people spend the holiday with their families, giving thanks.
Grenadians have celebrated Thanksgiving Day on October 25 since 1983.
The holiday marks the American invasion of the island under President Ronald Reagan. While the invasion received international criticism and caused a global backlash, many in Grenada were grateful for the American intervention to counter Cuban influence.
To mark the intervention, Grenadians – aware of the American Thanksgiving tradition – put together their own version, which continues to be celebrated by many on the island nation today.
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