Thanksgiving is often thought to be an American traditions, but these Thanksgiving traditions around the world prove otherwise. In fact, the true origins of our modern day Thanksgiving date back to pre-America England and Europe where a day of thankfulness was celebrated annually. The tradition carried with the Pilgrim’s and has since become our modern American tradition that is often completed with a roast Turkey, football and tons of friends and family.
Thanksgiving Traditions Around The World
Just the other day my girls were asking me when did Thanksgiving start. Especially because my youngest was born on Thanksgiving morning. So, here is a bit of information about Thanksgiving that would be great to share this month during homeschooling lessons. Here is some interested facts of traditions around the world.
The Cornucopia is ancient Greek, Roman and Latin in origin: One of our popular Thanksgiving decorations is often a cornucopia. This is actually an ancient Greek or Roman item that was typically filled with fruit, flowers, vegetables, cheeses, meats and other treats. The Latin term “cornu copiae” is translated to horn of plenty which is what we often think of when seeing or hearing the term cornucopia. Greek myths say that the cornucopia was a severed goat’s horn that Zeus magically created as a way to give a never-ending supply of food to its owner. While a classic American Thanksgiving item, this is actually a well noted item from other cultures for centuries before our Thanksgiving ever came about.
Canadians celebrated before the Pilgrims ever landed. Canadian Thanksgiving is very similar to the American classic Thanksgiving with tons of food, time with family and thankfulness, however it was also something that occurred well before our own celebrations began. Newfoundland was actually discovered prior to the Pilgrim’s landing at Plymouth Rock, thus Canada was truly thankful before America came to fruition. Canadians also follow a more traditional European harvest festival time and have Thanksgiving in October instead of November.
Ancient Rome celebrated Cerelia in October. Classic Roman culture celebrated the festival Cerelia in October of each year in honor of the Goddess of Corn, Ceres. It was a festival that was thought to be a way of thanking the Goddess Ceres for providing them with grains and food to last throughout the winter. There was traditional festival was full of food, music, parades and sporting events.
Liberia celebrates much like America. Freed slaves returning to Liberia took back traditions from America, including the Thanksgiving celebration. They now celebrate the first Thursday of November with similar traditional foods with a slightly different twist on flavors.
Feast of the Tabernacles is a fall Jewish holiday. While this would technically be for all Jewish families, we can look back to Israel for its origins. Sukkot is the third of the Jewish pilgrimage festivals and is traditionally celebrated outside the home as a remembrance of the Israelites journey across the desert. This is typically celebrated in the fall as a feast and time of thanksgiving that could resemble our traditional Thanksgiving.
Korea celebrates Chuseok. A bit earlier than our own Thanksgiving, Korea celebrates Chuseok in late September and early October of each year. This is a time to share food and celebrate the harvest with family and friends. Traditionally Koreans will use this time to share family stories, pay respects to their ancestors and eat traditional dishes like Songpyeon which is a kneaded rice cake filled with beans or other ingredients. There is also music, dancing, parades and costumes to help honor their ancestors.
Some of these Thanksgiving traditions around the world remind us that our own modern American Thanksgiving is somewhat based upon other countries ways of celebrating the harvest season.
My girls thoroughly enjoyed me reading and talking about Thanksgiving and how it is celebrated around the world. My girls are still a bit young to use as a full curriculum, but I think this would be so interested to add into a weekly Thanksgiving lesson for homeschoolers with older children.
Do you think your children will find this fascinating as my girls did?