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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. In preparation, Americans are licking their chops and readying their stomachs for unconscionable amounts of turkey and a stifling amount of kisses from their grandmothers.It’s a truly American holiday — food, friends and family take centre stage.
But at it’s heart, Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, where we give thanks for the fruits of our collective labour. And that is a concept that is celebrated the world over.
The history, rituals and dates may change, but harvest festivals are otherwise the same: to thank a higher power, or its equivalent, for the food on our tables.
The festival takes place around the same time as the Chinese iteration. In Vietnam, the festival focuses very much on family, specifically children. Kids light lamps to symbolise a bright future, and families burn stacks of fake Vietnamese cash to send good luck to their dead relatives.
Held after the rainy season in August, the Igbo people (mainly of Nigeria but also from elsewhere in the region) come together to celebrate the importance of the yam.
The yam is venerated by the people of the area, and in its honour the Igbo perform folk dances, march in parades, play music, and of course, eat.
All over Europe (pictured: Netherlands) the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours is like Thanksgiving meets Halloween
Once called 'Harvast Home' this holiday was traditionally about transporting sugar cane to the land owner, who would then give his laborers a huge feast in return. Today, it's a civic holiday similar to Carnival in Brazil.
Unlike one single day of Thanksgiving, Crop Over lasts for two months, which are filled with Calypso music and culminates in a national holiday.
Unofficially called one of the more pleasant Jewish holidays to sit through, Sukkot is celebrated in autumn and the word refers to the temporary houses built to resemble ancient Jewish dwellings.
The etrog (an Israeli lemon) is one of the symbols of the occasion, and stuffed foods -- like stuffed peppers, eggplants, fruits and pastries -- are traditionally popular.
Lohri is a Hindu holiday that is traditionally celebrated on January 13, typically celebrated in the Punjab region. Families have bonfires, sing and dance, and prayers are given to the god of fire.
The holiday marks a good crop, and is particularly important for families that recently experienced a momentous event, like a marriage or birth.
The Mendoza region of Argentina is fabled for its vineyards, which makes it the perfect place to hold a celebration of one of the country's greatest products.
The festival started in 1936 and has been growing ever since. Today, Argentinians and tourists from all over journey to Mendoza to see the fireworks, parades, fruit benedictions and to drink copious amounts of vino.
Celebrated by most of Canada, the northern take on Thanksgiving takes place on the second Monday in October, and actually pre-dates the United States version by 43 years.
Canadian specialties for the occasion include ham and tourtiere, a pastry pie filled with potatoes, rabbit and partridge or pheasant (pictured).
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