Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Around the World


Just after our own Thanksgiving let us look at how other regions of the world celebrate the harvest season. We are using information from Wikipedia and The Holiday Spot.

Thanksgiving (Canada):

Thanksgiving in Canada occurs on the second Monday in October and Canadians give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although some people thank God for this bounty, the holiday is mainly considered secular.

Chusok:

In Korea, the harvest festival is called Chusok or Chuseok. Chuseok is a major three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar Korean calendar. In modern South Korea, on Chuseok there is a mass exodus of Koreans returning to their ancestral hometowns to pay respects to the spirits of one's ancestors providing them with rice and fruits and sharing a feast of Korean traditional food.

Succoth:

In Israel, the harvest festival is called Succoth or Sukkot. The celebration lasts for seven days. Succoth is a Biblical pilgrimage festival that occurs in autumn on the 15th day of the month of Tishri (late September to late October). The festival is also known as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles, as Jewish families build outdoor booths in the tradition of the ancient Hebrews wandering in the wilderness. During Succoth, a special ceremony is held each day to remember Hebrew ancestors and to thank God for the harvest.

Baisakhi:

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is a long established harvest festival in Northern India and has religious significance for both Sikhs and Hindus. It falls on the first day of the Vaisakh month in the solar Nanakshahi calendar, which corresponds to April 13 in the Gregorian calendar, except every thirty-sixth year when it falls on April 14.

Pongal:

Pongal is a popular harvest festival in South India. It is also known as the “Rice Harvest Festival”. Families take this time to thank all those who have contributed to a successful harvest -- including the gods, the sun and the cattle. Named after a sweet rice dish, Pongal starts on January 14 of each year. The celebration lasts for three days.

Yam:

The Yam Festival is usually held in the beginning of August at the end of the rainy season. A popular holiday in Ghana and Nigeria, the Yam Festival is named after the most common food that goes by the same name in many African countries.

Moon Festival:

In the Far East, Thanksgiving comes a bit earlier. The Moon Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is a popular East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness, dating back over 3,000 years to China's Zhou Dynasty. It is named after the mooncake, made of a sweet bean-paste filling with golden brown flaky skin.

In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or "Mooncake Festival." The Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar.

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