Dear LA Teacher,
I know that here in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving the last Thursday in November and it is celebrated to give thanks for the fall harvest. Do other countries have a thanksgiving? And why do they celebrate?
Dear Thankful Student,
Many countries celebrate days of thanksgiving and a few of the festivals date back thousands of years. Here are five Thanksgiving celebrations around the globe:
Moon Cake Festival- China
On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month the Chinese celebrate the end of their harvest season with a huge feast. Instead of pumpkin or apple pie, moon cakes are served. The Chinese believe the moon is at its maximum brightness for the year. In 2014 it was celebrated on September 8.
Jews have celebrated Sukkot for 3000 years. It begins on the 15 day of Tishri five days after Yom Kippur. (This year it was celebrated from October 8-15.) The holiday was named after the huts (sukkots) the Israelites lived in as they roamed the desert with Moses for 40 years. Sukkot lasts for eight days. Jewish families will build small sukkots to remember the trials and tribulations of their ancestors. Fruit and vegetables are hung in the huts including apples, pomegranates, corn, and grapes. On the first two nights of Sukkot it is customary for families to eat their meals in the huts under the starry sky.
The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than their southern neighbors. On the second Monday in October Canadians celebrate a European farming custom to toast a plentiful harvest. The Canadian Parliament officially blessed Thanksgiving in 1957. Like their American brothers and sisters, the centerpiece on a Canadian Thanksgiving table is a succulent turkey.
The Korean Harvest Moon Festival or Chusok is held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, a holiday with a 2000-year history. Chusok lasts for three days when families gather together under the moonlight to remember their ancestors and to thank them for the bountiful harvest. This year it was held from September 7-9.
Like the Canadians, Thanksgiving in the UK is celebrated on the second Monday in October. In the UK it’s a harvest festival with religious overtones thanking God for the year’s plentiful harvest. People also thank their families and friends for their help. Roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and veggies are served. Gifts of flowers, baked cookies, or wine are also exchanged.
No matter where you live or your customs of celebration, may this Thanksgiving be a time of family, love, peace, and full tummies.
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