All over the world, traditions of thankfulness are celebrated annually during harvest season. Regardless of when and how people celebrate, these traditions are a time to stop and acknowledge everything we are grateful for on a daily basis. Traditions of thankfulness are unlike other celebrations because they're both culturally and personally important. Join us as we go on a virtual exploration of these meaningful traditions.
United States: Thanksgiving is the thankfulness tradition we're all familiar with. It occurs on the fourth Thursday of November and originated in 1621. On this day, we honor the Pilgrim's first successful wheat crop, and give thanks for these colonial beginnings and the gifts we have been given throughout the year.
Canada: Canadian Thanksgiving began in 1578 when a New World explorer celebrated his arrival in the uncharted territory that is now Newfoundland, Canada. Celebrated on the second Monday of October, Canadian Thanksgiving is more aligned with European harvest festivals than its American counterpart. That being said, Canadian Thanksgiving is similar to American Thanksgiving with families gathered around an autumn feast.
Ghana: The Homowo Festival is a yam harvest celebration in Accra, the coastal region of Ghana. This annual festival occurs around harvest time between May and August and commemorates a devastating period of famine. To celebrate the successful harvest, women dig up yams, Ghana's stable crop, and the food is then blessed by local chiefs. The festival concludes with a giant feast complemented by dancing, singing and drum-playing.
Feast of the Tabernacles: Sukkot is the third and final of the Jewish pilgrimage festivals, after Passover and Shavuot, that honor different stages of the harvest. Traditionally, Sukkot is celebrated outside in temporary huts, a tangible reminder of the makeshift dwellings Israelites lived in during their journey across the desert.
Korea: The Chuseok is a three-day celebration in late September, early October that is a time for families to tell stories, share food, dress in traditional costume and pay respects to their ancestors. As the tradition goes, a meal is made to honor the deceased, the family conducts a memorial service for those who have passed, and then they enjoy the feast.
Rome: On October 4th, Romans celebrate Cerelia, a harvest festival to honor Ceres, the Goddess of Corn. During the festival, fruits, grains and animals are offered to the goddess, and people enjoy music, parades and sporting events.