Thanksgiving traditions around the world
While these traditions differ from those we recognize here in Canada, they are often celebrated around the same time and have the same theme of gratitude and respect for the harvest. Some destinations to experience for your next thanksgiving.
Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday. This holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of Tishrei's month, between late September and late October. During this special occasion, Jewish people reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after they departed from slavery in Egypt, as spoken in the Bible. This 7-day tradition includes special prayer services and holiday meals.
Chuseok is the major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the lunar calendar's 8th month. During this time, Koreans return to their hometowns. During the festival, they perform traditional rituals in the morning to remember their ancestors. Family members visit and clean up the area around their immediate ancestors' tombs. Food, drink, and crops are then offered to their lost loved ones. Japchae, bulgogi, and songpyeon, a crescent-shaped rice cake, are some popular foods prepared for the occasion.
Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival
In Vietnam, people celebrate the Tết Trung Thu Festival, a Mid-Autumn Festival in September or early October, also known as the Children's Festival. Vietnamese believe that children are symbols of innocence and purity that they are the closest connection to the natural and sacred world. The children perform lion dances and light lanterns as part of the celebration.
UK: London's Harvest Festival
Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society, Locals and tourists with "green thumbs" converge on London to stroll through the city's Harvest Festival. This festival has several fun activities, including the Fruit & Vegetable Competition, highlighting the best UK's growers and their produce. Some featured events during the 2-day festival are Gardening tips, apple tasting and a giant pumpkin contest.
On the first Sunday of October, Germans come together to celebrate Erntedankfest (The Harvest of Thanks). Although it's not an official holiday and is usually a church-organized celebration. Several fun activities can include a Thanksgiving parade and a carnival with recently harvested decorations made from fruits and vegetables.
China: August Moon Festival
The August Moon Festival is a 1,000-year-old tradition. This celebration for the Chinese reflects on the bounty of the summer harvest, the moon's fullness, and the immortal goddess myth Chang O, who lives in the moon. During this time, millions of mooncakes are given away as gifts. Mooncakes are a flaky, round, semi-sweet pastry. The festival is often considered "Chinese Thanksgiving" because of its spirit of thanks and plentiful bounty.