Thanksgiving Customs in the United States and Other Countries
Do you wish to learn a little about Thanksgiving customs in the US, Canada and other parts of the world?
While there are only eight countries which officially celebrate Thanksgiving Day as the US knows it, a day set aside to give thanks has been practiced by countries all around the world from ancient times.
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Thus, you could say many countries have their own variations of Thanksgiving customs.
The Greeks celebrated a festival in the autumn for their harvest each year. Demeter was the name of their goddess of corn and other grains. The Romans celebrated a festival honoring their goddess of corn, Ceres, at the fall harvest.
The Chinese ancients celebrated their harvest festival on the 15th day of the 8th month when the moon was full. Families ate a traditional meal of roasted pig, fruit from their harvest, and cakes especially made by the women distributed to all families, and known as moon cakes. Egyptians, in honor of their god of fertility and vegetation, celebrated their harvest festival in the springtime.
Actually, speaking of Thanksgiving customs, one symbol of Thanksgiving today is the cornucopia, or the horn of plenty, which originated in Greece and symbolizes abundance. While the original was a curved goat's horn - hollowed out and filled with fruit and grain, today they are generally made of basket material.
It was the Puritans, who had come over on the Mayflower, after having lived a number of years in Holland to get away from the religious persecution they had been made to endure, that were first noted as being in the practice of setting aside certain days for the giving of thanks.
Though not a proven fact regarding Thanksgiving customs, it is thought that modern Thanksgiving is in direct line with their first such day, when those that survived the first winter in the new world, and then subsequent growing season, arranged for a feast to celebrate their gratitude.
This they did with their new found friends and teachers, the American Indians, whom they felt greatly indebted to. The Indians also brought food and, along with the settlers, prepared a feast for all. The celebration took place, historians believe, in the fall and lasted three days, consisting of such meats as venison, fish and wild fowl.
What are some specific Thanksgiving customs today? Traditional Thanksgiving Day is customarily associated with prayers, not only in the church, but in homes and in the communities in general. Large family dinners, reunions and get togethers of all types are observed. Decorating with fruits, pumpkins and other gourds and fall wreaths made of a mixture of fresh and dried flowers is customary, and so is conveying deep felt feelings for one another.
While food is a big part of the Thanksgiving customs and tradition in the US and Canada, which celebrate their Thanksgiving in October - on the second Monday, so is football and a grand parade or two; and both have been, from the time of the ancients.
What was a festival without a race, or some sort of game, often involving a sport? A traditional Thanksgiving Day would entail watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and the football game (or games) for the rest of the day.
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