General, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in 5 Countries

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day we gather with friends and family, and really focus on how thankful we are to have survived another year. It’s definitely not about the food. Not at all.

I found some interesting things out this month! Did you know, the United States isn’t the only country to celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’m going to go over traditions in four other countries, and list out some of our own as well!

So, what country comes first?



Today, while we’re celebrating our harvest festivals, Japan is having a different type of celebration.

On the 23rd of November every year, Japan celebrates   Kinrō Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day)

This holiday they commemorate labor and production, and they give one another thanks.

Different events are held throughout Japan, like the Nagano Labor Festival. This festival encourages peace and human rights, as well as caring for the environment.

It’s not uncommon for school children to create drawings and gift them to the local police stations.


In most Protestant churches across Germany, the first Sunday in October is   Erntedankfest or The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival

This is a Christian celebration where God is thanked for the gifts of the harvest. The date has been moved many times in history, but in 1972 the Roman Catholic German Bishops’ Conference set the first Sunday of October as a fixed date, without making it a stipulation across other communities.

There are various celebrations, from citywide parades to small church gatherings.


Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Similar to the United States and Germany, theirs is a celebration of thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Though there are religious sects, it is a mostly secular holiday. It’s celebrated almost identically to the way the United States celebrates.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are the only provinces that do not have Thanksgiving as a statutory holiday.

The United States

Most people reading today are probably from the United States.

We celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. It is also a celebration of the blessings received through the year, including the harvest.

We get together with family and friends, watch parades, football, and eat pretty much the same meal every year. But it never gets old, at least not in my family.

This holiday is generally regarded as the start of the Holiday season for most Americans, though others might argue that Halloween is the true beginning of the season.

The Netherlands

Each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the   Pieterskerk (a Gothic church in Leiden), a non-denominational service is held. This service commemorates the pilgrims who migrated to Plymouth Plantation that had resided in Leiden from 1609-1620 and left records of their births, marriages, and deaths.

In Protestant churches, the first Wednesday in November is Dankdag, or Thanksgiving. This is not a public holiday and those who recognize it go to church in the evening, or take the day off and attend the morning service.

Do you know of any celebrations similar to Thanksgiving? What are they?

Thanksgiving in 5 Countries - The Southern Smiths: I go over Thanksgiving Traditions across the world, From the United States to The Netherlands.

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