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Giving Thanks in more than one way: How Thanksgivings of other cultures are celebrated and shown in the media

Israeli people celebrating Shavuot. Approved for use.

Many different countries and cultures have different ways to give thanks and celebrate their country’s versions of thanksgiving. With the United States having their Thanksgiving coming up we are going to look at how other cultures celebrate their Thanksgivings and how their thanksgivings are shown in the media.

In Germany they celebrate a holiday called “Erntedankfest” from Germany. This holiday is one based around the harvest and the crop for the upcoming year. The German people pray for a good year of crop and harvest and celebrate the previous year by giving thanks.

Cart paraded during Erntedankfest celebration. Approved for use

“It was different celebrating it in America,” said Drew Tuemer a German-American who celebrated the holiday growing up. “It was hard to celebrate the parts of the holiday based around the crop living in Chicago, Ill., however we would still get together as a family and eat some of the traditional foods that are consumed on the holiday,” said Tuemer.

Erntedankfest can be like American Thanksgiving where TV shows will have an episode themed around the holiday. In a popular German sitcom during the 1970s, the show Ein Herz und eine Seele had an episode called “Erntedankfest.”

Another culture that has a celebration similar to the American thanksgiving is Israeli culture. In a holiday that is also part of the Jewish culture Israelis and Jewish people all around the world celebrate the holiday of “Shavuot.”

Israeli people celebrating Shavuot. Approved for use.

Shavuot like Erntedankfest is a holiday based around the crop and harvest of the previous year. In accordance with the holiday the Jewish people eat dairy products on the day to give the crops and harvested plants a rest.

To American Jews Shavuot is another holiday on the calendar some celebrate and some do not, but in Israel it’s very different.

“Everyone is with their families celebrating, people make big meals and put together big events for the day, it’s both religious and cultural,” said Eva Salby an Israeli currently living in Naharia Israel.

Shavuot typically won’t be found in any media outside Israel because the holiday is also about the time when the Jewish people received the Torah or Bible there are many movies and other forms of media in Israel that Shavuot is portrayed through.

Giving thanks is something that is very common in most cultures. The other Thanksgivings we explored were just two of many that are found all across the world. All Thanksgivings are important in their culture as a time for family, community, and thanks they have become a big part of TV shows and movies displaying how things can vary even within the same culture.

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5 comments

  1. I think it would be interesting to explore how crops and harvests play into global cultures. This is only two of them and I’m sure so many different customs surround this time of year!

  2. Thanksgiving was originally a festival within North American continent. But now for the fusion of global cultures, a lot of other countries are celebrating Thanksgiving as well. The essence of festivals is not only to make people remember something, more importantly people could gather together to celebrate and gain happiness. Cultural differences make a same festival have multiple meanings. How interesting.

  3. It was so interesting to read about the differences between the German, American and Jewish cultures. It really brought to light how different, but beautiful every culture is. I wish more people were exposed to stories like this.

  4. Goob job applying how the same celebration or holiday can be different when celebrated within different cultures and countries. 

  5. Hey Evan! Cool to see your interest in how other cultures celebrate similar holidays to Thanksgiving amidst other cultures! Not surprised to see your interest and knowledge around Israel, considering your upbringing their and consistent travels back. Nonetheless, always nice to see people coming together.

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