Although Thanksgiving is likely based on traditions that began in Europe, it’s celebrated in unique ways in many places around the world.
From cooking feasts for families to attending special church services, here’s how nine countries around the world celebrate Thanksgiving.
The US celebrates Thanksgiving in November.
In the US, this national holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated with feasts that are oftentimes centered around turkey.
The holiday is also marked by the annual Macy’s parade which features floats of famous characters as well as live musical performances.
Not all Canadian provinces celebrate Thanksgiving.
The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred in 1859 after Protestant leaders organised celebrations based on the American tradition. Technically, the national government recognises Thanksgiving as the second Monday in October, but not all provinces celebrate it.
In Quebec, where it is called “Action de grâce,” the day is not widely celebrated. Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador don’t consider it a holiday at all.
Norfolk Island celebrates Thanksgiving on a Wednesday.
Although the mainland is devoid of a Turkey Day, the Australian territory Norfolk Island celebrates Thanksgiving with food, family, and special church services.
Celebrated each year on the last Wednesday in November, the tradition was originally brought to the South Pacific island by sailors on American whaling ships in the late 19th century.
A typical Liberian Thanksgiving involves church services.
Liberians observe Thanksgiving on the first Thursday in November. Brought to the country by freed slaves who fled the United States during the early 1880s, Liberian Thanksgiving traditions have religious undertones.
Rather than cooking large meals and spending time with family, Liberians attend church services and focus primarily on giving thanks to God for their freedom and their nation.
Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving in October.
In Grenada, Thanksgiving takes place on October 25. The celebration marks the date when, in 1883, American and Caribbean military forces arrived on the island to restore peace and stability following nearly two decades of conflict between political groups.
Although the holiday is not as popular in rural communities, it is nationally recognised by the state and celebrated formally.
In St. Lucia, most businesses remain open on the holiday.
St. Lucia’s Thanksgiving celebrations occur on the first Monday in October. Although the government recognises it as a public holiday, the tradition is not overly popular with residents of St. Lucia.
Despite having the option to take a day off, many businesses remain open and operate as usual.
The Netherlands celebrates Thanksgiving a week before the US.
Introduced by the same pilgrims who stopped in Leiden before sailing to the New World, Thanksgiving remains popular with the Dutch to this day.
The tradition is celebrated commonly enough that Amsterdam, the capital city’s website, provides a quick and simple guide to comfort those feeling homesick during the holidays.
The Dutch observe Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November each year.
Germany holds an annual Harvest Thanksgiving Festival.
Germans celebrate Thanksgiving with annual “Harvest Thanksgiving Festival.”
Taking place sometime in late September or early October each year, Erntedankfest is considered a primarily religious festival but still involves big parades and large feasts made from autumn harvests.
Japan’s version of Thanksgiving focuses on working citizens.
Japan’s Thanksgiving traditions are unique. Called kinrōkanshahi, or “Labour Thanksgiving Day,” the nationally-recognised holiday takes place on November 23 each year.
The holiday specifically celebrates the working citizens of Japan and praises them for the jobs they do. Although many businesses remain open, government services are closed on this day.
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