To many Americans, Thanksgiving means family gatherings, gratitude for blessings, and watching football games. Most of all, it means eating turkey and pumpkin pie. Other countries celebrate this harvest time in very different ways. But they all have one thing in common - a great feast!
Celebrated on the second Monday of October, Canadian Thanksgiving marks the arrival of English explorer Martin Frobisher in Newfoundland in 1578. This was the first feast of gratitude celebrated in the New World.
China's Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Families gather together on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese lunar cycle to celebrate "Chung Chiu" or the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. A large three-day feast in features the exchange of sweet Moon Pies to represent peace and unity.
Observed in September or October, Erntedankfest is celebrated with music, dancing, fireworks and the crowning of the harvest queen. Unused food from the holiday is distributed to the needy with chickens being the traditional staple of the feast.
South India's Pongal Harvest Festival
The first two parts of the four-day-long Pongul festival honor the gods of rain and sun. On the third day shepherds and cowherds pay tribute to their cows and bulls, and the fourth day, families visit each other to share and give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
Ghana's Homowo Festival
Homowo celebrates overcoming a devastating famine that befell the Ga people as they journeyed from their ancestral homeland to the current day Greater Accra region. It begins in May during the planting and blessing of crops before the rainy season. When crops are harvested and made into a special feast, the Ga people "hoot at hunger" (Homowo) to honor their ancestors victory over starvation.
Happy Thanksgiving from The Literacy & Language Center!
(Artwork by an LLC student's younger sibling)