Thanksgiving Around the World


Abby Phillips, Staff Writer

When Americans think of Thanksgiving, they usually think about eating lots of food, gathering with friends and family, and the story of the Pilgrim’s meal with the Native Americans. Since the origin of the most common Thanksgiving story is set in present-day United States, many people think of the holiday as strictly American. But did you know that five other countries besides the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving?

Canada – Canadians also participate in Thanksgiving, but they don’t celebrate the harvest meal between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Canadian Thanksgiving, which is held on the second Monday of October, celebrates the 1578 voyage of British explorer Arthur Frobisher who made a meal for his crew when they finally made it to the Canadian shores alive.

Liberia – This West African country actually celebrates the same Thanksgiving that Americans celebrate. Liberia finally became an independent nation in 1847 after a group of Americans spent years trying to turn it into a home for former slaves. Although many of the citizens there are not descendants of former slaves, the American immigrants incorporated the tradition throughout the country.

Netherlands – Thanksgiving isn’t actually a national holiday for the Dutch. Only one town in the region celebrates. The city of Leiden celebrates Thanksgiving on the same day as Americans. This has to do with the route the Pilgrims took on their way to North America. Before traveling to America, the Pilgrims actually stopped in Leiden and settled there for about a decade, looking for somewhere to escape religious persecution in England.

Grenada – In October of 1983, the deputy prime minister executed the prime minister of Grenada and seized power. The United States and other allied forces from the Caribbean nations overthrew the deputy prime minister. Today Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving in honor of the American-led invasion, although it is not considered as big of a deal there as it is here in America.

Norfolk Island – Norfolk Island is actually an Australian territory, not a country of its own. Their tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving comes from American whalers who introduced locals to foods like cornbread and pumpkin pie in hopes of Americanizing the area. Norfolk Islanders celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November where the people eat many kinds of banana dishes as well as roast pork, chicken, and other local specialties.