By Nikki Groom
Many people around the world celebrate Thanksgiving, but they don’t celebrate it exactly like the United States does. Some people keep the traditional family gathering for a meal, but also do other things to celebrate as well.
Korea celebrates what they call Chuseok Harvest Festival. This festival consists of having a family dinner, but also going to visit their loved ones’ hometowns and holding memorials at their family’s graves. The traditional foods eaten are rice cakes, taro soup, and mushrooms. They have activities such as archery, musical competitions, and singing.
Germany’s “Thanksgiving Day” is Erntedankfest, and the churches are in charge of this one. Catholics and Protestants both attend church on Erntedankfest. Large woven baskets filled with grain, fruits, and vegetables are taken to the churches. The baskets are then blessed and given to the less fortunate. It’s similar to the traditional feast celebrated in the United States, but Germany has mohnstriezel, a sweet bread sprinkled with poppy seeds.
China celebrates the Harvest Moon Festival as its “Thanksgiving.” It is a three-day celebration when the moon is the brightest and fullest it’s been all year. The tradition in China is to gather around a table with family and friends to enjoy each other’s company while talking and eating the ceremonial offering food. They enjoy mooncakes, and children play with paper festival lanterns.
Pongal is celebrated in India. Pongal is a Harvest Festival that is four days long. Rice, sugarcane, and turmeric are largely used during the festival. On the first day, they honor their Lord Indra, the ruler who gives rain. The second day is for the performance of Puja, which is a ceremonial act of worship. They boil rice in milk and symbolically offer it to the Sun God. The day for cows, also known as Mattu Pongal, is celebrated on the third day. A giant party occurs during this day. On the last day of celebration, the women of the house wash a turmeric leaf, place it on the ground, and put pongal rice around it. They then ask that the house and their brothers will always prosper.
Thanksgiving is a tradition that is celebrated in many forms and times around the world. Giving thanks for what we have and asking to maintain the things we have will always be something to celebrate.