On November 23, 2023, most Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. The secular holiday is observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November. The celebrations usually center around a delicious feast with family and friends. Other fun traditions include participating in "Turkey Trot" runs and parades. But not all countries mark the holiday on the same day or follow the same customs. Here are four variations of Thanksgiving-like festivities from around the world.
Joaquim Nabuco, Brazil's first ambassador to the US, purportedly enjoyed American Thanksgiving so much that he convinced his government to establish a similar holiday. Día de Ação de Graças is also celebrated annually on the last Thursday of November. It begins with a church service to give thanks for the fall harvest. The meal that follows is similar to the American feast. However, the cranberry sauce is replaced with one made using a grape-like fruit called jabuticaba. The holiday ends with a colorful and lively carnival and parade.
Chuseok is an important harvest festival celebrated in Korea. The annual holiday date is determined by the lunar calendar. It usually falls between late September and early October.
Koreans use the three-day break to visit their hometowns to spend time with family and friends. They also clean the graves of their ancestors and offer them food, drinks, and crops. Traditional Korean foods are an essential part of Chuseok celebrations. One of the most popular dishes is a half-moon-shaped rice cake called Songpyeonm. The sweet treat is filled with sesame seeds, red beans, or honey.
Ghana's version of Thanksgiving is called Homowo. It means "hooting at hunger" in the language of the local Ga tribe. The West African country celebrates the holiday in late August or early September.
The Ga settlers arrived in Ghana in the 16th century. They encountered many hardships during their travels across Africa, including a severe famine. The migrants celebrated their first harvest in Ghana with a feast, and a tradition was born.
Homowo is preceded by a month-long ban on noise, especially drumming, a big part of many worshiping rituals. The Ga people believe the noise affects their crops and scares away the spirits of their ancestors. Similar to Thanksgiving, Homowo is a festival of food. The extensive menu includes large amounts of fish and kpokpoi, a traditional dish made with fermented cornmeal and palm oil.
Japan's "Kinro Kansha no Hi," or Labor Thanksgiving Day, is observed annually on November 23. The holiday originates from an ancient rice festival called Niinamesai. On this day, the Emperor of Japan would offer the season's first rice harvest to the gods and taste some himself.
However, after World War II, the holiday's purpose shifted to honoring Japanese workers. Children often hand out thank-you notes to firefighters, police officers, and frontline workers on this day.
Resources: treehugger.com, readersdigest.ca, wikipedia.org, tofugu.com,newsghana.com.gh, culturetrip.com