Why do People Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an important holiday in countries like the United States and Canada.
Thanksgiving is an important holiday in countries like the United States and Canada.

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in different countries around the world. Thanksgiving in the US is held on the last Thursday of November every year. Thanksgiving holidays are marked by festivities and family gatherings. Some of the countries that celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday other than the US include Germany, Canada, Grenada, and Korea. Although Thanksgiving is observed in varied ways in the different nations, the main reason for the holiday is to express gratitude. Here is a summary of why people celebrate Thanksgiving in different countries;

The United States

What we know today as American Thanksgiving was first held in 1621 by the English pilgrims who were celebrating their first successful harvest. They held the occasion to thank God for the great harvest in the preceding year. The 16th president of the US, Abraham Lincoln, declared the event a national holiday in America in 1863 during the American civil war. He declared that the fourth Thursday of November should be set apart to give thanks to God in prayer. Now, Americans observe Thanksgiving to celebrate good health, blessings in their family, and prosperity. On this day, families come together and prepare different meals with turkey meat being a major part of the meal.


In Germany, Thanksgiving Day is referred to as “Erntedankfest,” meaning “harvest thanksgiving festival.” The holiday is held on the first Sunday of October. The reason for the holiday is to celebrate the good autumn harvest. It is mostly a rural harvest time observance marked by Choral singing, music, services in the church, and Thanksgiving procession. The harvest queen known as “Erntekrone” is presented with a harvest crown during the celebration.


Vincent Massey, who was the Governor General of Canada, declared Thanksgiving a holiday on January 31, 1957. He stated that every second Monday of October should be a day of general thanksgiving for the plentiful harvest in the country. Thanksgiving is held annually in Canada to celebrate the blessings of the previous year and the harvest of the year. The day is marked by spending time with family over a feast with the food mostly served including roasted turkey, autumn vegetables, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes, accompanied with a lot of celebrations and religious activities to give thanks.


Thanksgiving is a public holiday in Grenada and it is held on October 25 every year. It is meant to commemorate the 1983 Caribbean and America joint forces intervention in Grenada. The intervention was meant to restore the stability of the country after the death of the then prime minister Maurice Bishop. In Grenada, Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday and it is marked by formal ceremonies and events.


Thanksgiving Day, referred to as “Chuseok” in Korea, is held on the 8th of the lunar month or autumn to celebrate the plentiful harvest of the year. It is one of the most popular holidays in Korea where families come together and give thanks to their ancestors. During their Thanksgiving, freshly harvested rice, alcohol, and songpyeon are offered to the ancestors. Later, members come together and feast on tasteful traditional meals. Songpyeon is one of the major foods served on this day. It is prepared using rice powder that is kneaded into small sizes, and then filled with beans, chestnuts, and other ingredients.


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