The meaning of Thanksgiving in America is all about quality family time, that sumptuous dinner consisting of all your favorite food, and of course, football isn’t it? Naturally, you remain concerned mainly about cooking the turkey and stuffing the potatoes right. Also about getting that fresh, finger-licking pumpkin pie out of the oven. However, you often overlook the history of Thanksgiving Day and its spread, don’t you?
There are a plethora of opinions about when was the first Thanksgiving. According to a section of Americans, the story of Thanksgiving stems from the 1621 harvest feast that Plymouth’s English settlers shared with the Wampanoag people. According to them, it is they who started the tradition of Thanksgiving. Did you know that different countries apart from America have their sui generis ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, and each of them has a story to tell too?
Thanksgiving in Canada:
Though there are different accounts regarding the origin of Thanksgiving, according to scholarly sources, the first-ever Thanksgiving took place in Canada and almost forty years before America’s inaugural celebration. As the history of this day records, with the Native Americans, the indigenous Canadians hosted harvest festivals from before the invasion of the colonizers. However, it was the Loyalists who brought in turkey in the Thanksgiving spread. The history of the Thanksgiving holiday in Canada records that the initial date was in November, but the given date was later altered and made the second Monday in October. The history of Thanksgiving in America and Canada goes almost hand-in-hand with a unique parity in their customs and food.
Thanksgiving in Germany:
We can trace its history in Germany back to the introduction of “Erntedankfest”, the German counterpart which literally translates to “harvest festival of thanks,” and the celebration following it. The holiday there is on the first Sunday in October, which is often also the first Sunday, closely following the Michaelistag. We may find that the countryside has a penchant for celebrating harvest festivals in the real sense of the phrase, whereas the meaning of Thanksgiving in German Churches is different, They treat it like the occasion to thank the almighty for the grace and blessings they receive through the year. In the German tradition, people often carry the “erntekrone” i.e. the “harvest crown”. It is made of different kinds of grain, colorful fruits, and flowers. For their meal, they choose Masthühnchen or der Kapaun (fattened chicken and roosters, respectively).
Thanksgiving in Norfolk Island:
Norfolk Island situated in the Pacific Ocean was once a British Colony, now turned into Australian territory. Remote and weird as it sounds, it makes room for a festival and holiday celebration with primarily American roots. The Thanksgiving tradition of Norfolk Island was initiated during the late 19th century. You must be wondering about who started the tradition of Thanksgiving on this island! Isaac Robinson, an American who introduced service in Kingston to draw the attention of American whalers. Since then, they observe this holiday on the last Wednesday of November, to adorn the Church, and sing American hymns.
Thanksgiving in Japan:
Japan has its own meaningful way of celebrating this special day. The “Kinro Kansha no Hi” literally translates to “labor Thanksgiving Day” stems from the old rice harvest festival’s ages. Today’s Labour Thanksgiving Day started to take shape during the mid-twentieth century. The way it is observed in Japan is mostly different from the rest of the world. The importance of this day there centers on their workers’ fundamental rights. It has now become a national holiday; however, the grand feast as we see among the Americans remains almost absent in the Japanese tradition. As an alternative, labor organizations host encouraging events for the citizens relating to determination and community spirit. Their children make colorful “Thank you” cards for the workers that serve the country round the year. The story of Thanksgiving in Japan is inspiring their people to be more responsible fellow countrymen.
Thanksgiving in the Netherlands:
The colonizers paid their visit to the New World on the Mayflower. They spent a substantial amount of time residing in Leiden. Among many outcomes of this engagement, some have also vouched that the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving drew significant inspiration from Leiden. Thus, one can say, that the history of Thanksgiving Day stems from the land of cheese markets, Netherlands. On an annual basis, people who stay in Leiden celebrate their unbreakable connection with the Mayflower’s passengers, generally on the fourth Thursday in November.
Each country has its own tale to tell about the history of Thanksgiving Day, with its own unique claims. There are several theories about the history of the Thanksgiving holiday here and there, as well as who started the tradition of Thanksgiving in which part of the world. The story of Thanksgiving largely varies, providing us with a range of interesting accounts revolving around a festivity. The diverse ways of observing this day all around the world tell out that it has successfully traversed the boundaries of Local, and has moved closer home to the concept of Global harmony.