Thanksgiving is a true American holiday, with its special foods and traditions. But did you know that there are other countries around the world that have a version of a holiday centered on gratitude? Here are a few:
Germany: Erntedankfest is a religious festival held in early October. Celebrating and showing thanks for a good harvest, there are parades, and everyone wears a special crown (erntekrone) made of grain, flowers and fruits. Fowl, chicken and geese in particular, are served for the main meal.
Canada: Similar to America’s celebration, Canadian Thanksgiving was originally celebrated to give thanks for the safe return of an explorer’s fleet in the northernmost area of Canada several centuries ago. Sixty years ago, the Canadian Parliament moved the holiday to the 2nd Monday in October. Turkey, stuffing (dressing), mashed potatoes, gravy and corn are on the menu.
The Netherlands: A large number of the adults on the Mayflower came from Leiden in the Netherlands, where they had lived for more than a decade before shipping out. It is possible that the pilgrim’s Thanksgiving may have been inspired by the Leiden annual remembrance of the end of a big battle with Spain in 1574. The town still celebrates the settlers who once lived there with a special church service on the fourth Thursday of November. No turkey, but coffee, tea and cookies are available.