Thanksgiving 2021 is a national holiday in various countries, including the United States, Canada, Liberia, Grenada, and Saint Lucia. Additionally, some parts of the Netherlands and Australia observe Thanksgiving Day.
In this post, we’ll discuss the history and observance of Thanksgiving and how people celebrate it in various countries.
Dates of Thanksgiving 2021
While Thanksgiving is observed in many countries, the dates vary. This year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 25 in the United States. In Canada, it’s the second Monday in October, which is October 11 this year. Libera celebrates the day on the first Thursday of November, which will be on November 4 this year.
The reason why countries celebrate Thanksgiving on different dates is that each country has a unique historical significance when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving. We’ll delve deeper into this in the later sections.
History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is prominent in North America, mainly in the US and Canada. The holiday dates back to English traditions during the Protestant Reformation. Some historians also state that the dates also have aspects of a harvest festival.
Let’s discuss the history of Thanksgiving in the US and Canada.
Thanksgiving 2021 in Canada
Various historians state that the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America occurred in 1578 during the voyage of Martin Frobisher, who was traveling from England to find the Northwest Passage.
Sometimes, the origins of Thanksgiving in Canada trace back to the 17th century when French settlers came to New France. The settlers celebrated their successful harvests, and since then, the locals observe the day as Thanksgiving Day. Eventually, Thanksgiving celebrations became more popular as settlers continued to inhabit Canada.
According to historians, Puritans and pilgrims who migrated to New England during the 1620s and 1630s brought with them the tradition of Thanksgiving and fasting. The first event of Thanksgiving in the US traces back to a well-documented event that occurred in 1619 in Plymouth (Massachusetts). In 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Virginia, and their arrival was concluded with a religious celebration, which was later observed as Thanksgiving.
Though the exact origins of Thanksgiving in Australia are not known, it was brought by American whaling ships visiting the island. The sailors landed on the Australian territory of Norfolk Island, and the Thanksgiving holiday came into existence.
In 1949, Brazilian president Gaspar Dutra introduced the National Thanksgiving Day in Brazil. In 1966, Brazil established law to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November.
Grenada is an island located in the Caribbean, where the locals observe Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday on October 25. While the name and timeline of the holiday are roughly the same, its significance in Grenada is different from other countries. In Grenada, Thanksgiving marks the anniversary of the US-led attacks on the island in 1983.
A lot of Pilgrims who were a part of the Plymouth Plantation settled in the Leiden city of the Netherlands in 1609-1620. Those Pilgrims had recorded their births, marriages, and deaths at the St. Peter’s Church, also known as the Pieterskerk. The church continues to celebrate a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day in commemoration of the Pilgrims.
Libera, a West African Country, was a part of the American Colonization Society. In 1821, free African-Americans settled in Liberia. Though Thanksgiving is a nationally recognized occasion in Libera, only Americo-Liberians who are the descendants of the original Liberian African-Americans celebrate it.
How Will Thanksgiving 2021 be Celebrated in Different Countries?
As discussed, the history of Thanksgiving Day is different in countries. Hence, the celebrations also vary. Let’s look at how different countries celebrate Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday in the US, and all schools and colleges, along with most businesses, are closed. Family celebrations are most common on Thanksgiving Day in the US. Families and friends gather around for chicken BBQs, meals, and drinks. In many states, the day after Thanksgiving is observed as Black Friday and is a holiday. Following Black Friday are the weekend holidays, resulting in a long weekend of four holidays. Many families use this long weekend to travel and visit their friends and family members.
Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada are more or less similar to the US. Most people have a day off, and the majority of schools, colleges, businesses, and government offices remain closed. Families and friends visit each other and eat and drink together. And since Thanksgiving Day is on Monday, people get to enjoy a three-week-long weekend.
Thanksgiving in Grenada is a time for gratitude. The people of Grenada cook delicious meals and enjoy drinks to celebrate the day. The day is an official holiday in the country, and all government offices, schools, and most businesses remain closed.
Thanksgiving celebration in the Netherlands different from America, even though it shares strong ties. Instead of cooking delicious meals and meeting with friends and family members, the Dutch observe Thanksgiving by attending a non-denominational church service. Following the service, they enjoy cookies and coffee with friends and family.
Thanksgiving 2021 in Liberia
Fruits are a major element of Thanksgiving in Liberia. The locals auction off fruit-filled cornucopias at the church, followed by a large feast with friends and family.
Thanksgiving 2021-Like Holidays Around the World
Did you know various countries celebrate holidays similar to Thanksgiving but with different names? Here are some of them.
The Yam Festival – Ghana and Nigeria
People in Ghana and Nigeria celebrate a festival similar to Thanksgiving, known as the Yam festival. People observe the day in August or September to celebrate the yam harvest.
Water Buffalo Racing – Thailand
In October, farmers from all across Thailand travel to the city of Chonburi to participate in an old water buffalo racing festival to celebrate rice harvest.
Pongal – India
In the state of Tamil Nadu, India, people celebrate Pongal to celebrate rice harvest. People celebrate the day by singing, dancing, decorating, and eating.
Thanksgiving 2021 – Wrap Up
Thanksgiving Day is a popular festival in many countries, especially in North America. So, do people in your country or state observe Thanksgiving? If yes, then how do you celebrate it?