Different Countries, Different Cultures, Different Thanksgiving Celebrations

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For some people, the most special way to celebrate the holidays is in the comfort of their own home. For others, traveling the world and experiencing the holiday in different cities, states, or countries is what makes for a special holiday.

I was traveling throughout Europe during Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, and many friends’ birthdays. Surprisingly, I had much more fun on these days abroad than I ever do back home in the United States. On the other hand, I am also one of those people who is the happiest at my own home during the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am not sure what celebrating either of these holidays abroad would have looked like, but with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it was only fitting to find out how different countries celebrate it.

Photo courtesy of: The U.S. Air Force (http://www.af.mil). Labeled for reuse.

In an article titled, “How 7 Other Nations Celebrate Thanksgiving,” written by Kristy Puchko, she discusses the ways Germany, Japan, Canada, Grenada, Liberia, The Netherlands, and Norfolk Island all celebrate Thanksgiving. The most fascinating part about this article was how many of these countries seem to celebrate it more as a festival or remembrance of events such as laws being passed or war. For example, “Grenada’s Thanksgiving marks the anniversary of the 1983 U.S. Military Invasion to restore order after the death of communist leader Maurice Bishop,” Puchko said. Though this is true for Grenada, there are also many countries that celebrate it similarly to us and for the same reason.

My favorite country, Italy, celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently as well. After reading about it and learning about it during my time there, part of me wishes I could have celebrated it while I was there. In an article titled, “Celebrating an Italian Thanksgiving,” I learned that Italians do not celebrate Thanksgiving how we do in America, instead, they have a Festival of Thanks (La Festa del Ringraziamento). This festival is held to honor their saints. As we know, Italy is a predominantly Catholic country, so this should not come as a surprise to many. Not only do they celebrate to honor these saints, but also to eat food, food, and more food! If you have ever been to Italy, you know food is one of their main foundations of life, love, laughter, and relationships. I can’t even imagine how delicious these meals are.

From the United States to Grenada, and Grenada to Italy, Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways. Whether you are a homebody or one with a travel-bug, I highly encourage anybody to celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving abroad. After learning about all of the different cultures and customs, I am eager to buy a plane ticket out of the country for my next Thanksgiving.


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