Thanksgiving is celebrated in five countries. In the United States and Canada, most people celebrate by sitting down as a family and typically eating Turkey. Thanksgiving in these places is meant to celebrate the blessings from the past year as well as the harvest from the past year. People believe that it originated in 1621, when English colonists of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people sat and ate dinner together. But in other places, the celebration is done in different ways for different reasons.
In China thanksgiving is a three-day celebration that takes place in the middle of autumn. This celebration is often known as the Moon Festival and comes from Chinese customs of moon-sacrificial ceremonies in which prayers, poems, and offerings are burned as offerings. It is now more of an “appreciating the moon,” celebration where people sit at a table and talk and eat the offerings from the sacrificial ceremony. Reflecting on the importance of togetherness, families eat round, semi-sweet pastries called moon cakes and they dance and set off festival lanterns.
In Israel, people reflect on the struggles that Israelites faced during the 40-year travel when they went through the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt. The celebration lasts three days and is known more commonly as the “Season of our Rejoicing.” This celebration is also in honor of the annual harvest.
However you celebrate, happy holidays!