Top Countries That Celebrate Thanksgiving (other than the USA)

Top Countries That Celebrate Thanksgiving (other than the USA)

Thanksgiving! One of the most beloved holidays of the year!

Mashed potatoes. Turkey. Cranberry sauce. Sweet potato pie.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Turkey Trot. Football.

All some of our most favorite things to enjoy on America’s Thanksgiving. What about other countries though? That’s right- There are other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving. So what to do, but to explore these countries traditions? Gobble up finches! Let’s set out to do some exploring! First stop, Germany.


Germany Erntedankfest

Turkey may be the star dish of American Thanksgiving but chickens, hens, roosters and geese are the Germans favorite for Erntedankfest. Erntedankfest is the annual harvest festival that is less about family tradition and more about being thankful for a good year with good fortune. This holiday is marked by the protestant and catholic churches and takes place the first Sunday of every October. The most similarities take place with how they celebrate- Parades, music, fireworks and dancing! Ok maybe not alike after all, but at least we both have parades! There isn’t time alloted for food comas in this country’s version of Thanksgiving, so make sure you bring comfy shoes and a flower crown (yes, they wear those on this holiday) because it’s a party!


China Kinro Kansha no Hi

Japan essentially combines Labor Day and Thanksgiving to give the annual celebration of Kinro Kansha no Hi. Originally a harvest festival celebrating the season’s first rice harvest, this 2,000 year-old tradition now celebrates festivities around its workers and human rights. They celebrate with children creating crafts and giving gifts to local police officers. Instead of every 4th Thursday, this holiday is observed every November 23rd.


Canadian Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving or l’action de grace (to our french-canadians reading) is perhaps the most similar celebration to its siblings in the south. Older than the American tradition, Canada’s is believed to have first celebrated its Thanksgiving in 1578. During the Revolutionary War, many Americans migrated up to Canada bringing many of their traditions including the turkey! With food staying the same with pumpkin pie and stuffing, the main difference between the two is that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving the second Monday in October and (gasp!) is not a public holiday in every province. I wonder if they have a Black Tuesday though….


Grenada's Thanksgiving

Celebrated more as a day of remembrance, Grenada’s Thanksgiving may be different from ours, but began celebrating because of us. This island celebrates the anniversary of the 1983 U.S. military invasion, which helped restore order to the country after the death of their communist prime minister, Maurice Bishop. The invasion happened on October 25th, so for those American soldiers in the area, Thanksgiving was close on their minds as it was one month away! To show their own thanks and gratitude for their help, the lovely people of Grenada threw their own Thanksgiving for the soldiers. Complete with turkey and mashed potatoes.


Liberian Thanksgiving

Founded by freed slaves from the U.S., this west African country celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas! The main way Liberia observes the Thanksgiving tradition is by filling cornucopias with fruit at their local churches. The good fruit too like bananas, papayas, mangoes, pineapples…(salivating) who’s hungry? After church service, they auction off these sweetly packed copias then go home to feast and dance! Celebrated on the first Thursday in November, they eat chicken and mashed cassavas aka yuca! Nom.

The Netherlands

Netherlands Thanksgiving

Did you know that many pilgrims on the Mayflower actually migrated from The Netherlands? Of course you did! That’s why we had many dutch colonies and ladder-back chairs (thanks guys!). So much influence in the foundation of these United States, some say that Thanksgiving is an extension to The Netherland’s commemoration of the breaking of the Spanish siege back in 1574. Celebrated with a nice non-denominational church service, they celebrate with cookies and coffee. We can get behind that only if mashed potatoes were added to the menu.

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Thanksgiving

This island nestled in between New Zealand and Australia owes their Thanksgiving traditions to their whalers from the 1890s. Started by an American trader i.e. Isaac Robinson, he wanted to attract whalers to a feast by decorating the church with lemons and greenery. It worked! Although, Robinson passed away before it caught on around the island. Now, Norfolk Island celebrates by bringing fruits and veggies to the church as well as decorating it with greenery and cornstalk! They don’t feast on their bringings after service. They sell it! Some of the island’s 2,000 people may not attend service and choose to feast instead! Instead of turkey, they eat pork and chicken! No matter their religious beliefs, all celebrate their version of Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of each November.


China's Mid-Autumn Festival

The day of celebration for China is on the 15th day of the 8th month each lunar year. Generally, it falls around September or October. Their Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated under a full moon giving thanks for a good harvest and changing of seasons. The holiday tradition is the oldest out of the other 9 countries as it predates 2,500 years before Europeans migrated to the new world. Instead of the ever-delicious pumpkin pie, China bakes a moon cake, which also sounds delicious! Its key ingredients are sesame seeds, lotus seeds and duck eggs.

South Korea

South Korea Chuseok Day

Just like American Thanksgiving, South Korea spends this day with family celebrating the harvest and more importantly, their ancestors. Known as Chuseok Day, families take part in national customs such as memorial services, wrestling and circle dancing. Ok, that sounds like fun! If you’re in the area mid-September, stick around because Chuseok Day is typically held on the 15th. Hope you know how to wrestle.


Vietnam Têt-Trung-Thu Festival

Têt-Trung-Thu Festival or the Children’s Festival is held on the same day as China’s Thanksgiving. Created as a way for parents to make up for neglecting their children while working to cultivate a prosperous harvest, Vietnam similarly celebrates with family feasting and quality time. I bet they probably watch sports after dinner too while passing out from a food coma!

Whether you plan on visiting family or in the midst of traipsing around the world, these 10 countries have your back in the Fall if you’re homesick for Thanksgiving festivities. If you want to get out of the states, jump over to Canada! If you want a lighter meal of cookies and coffee, The Netherlands has your back. If you want a family-oriented fest followed by wrestling, South Korea’s got your number. Wherever you find yourself, Paperfinch wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

PaperFinch Travel TIP: Planning your escape to these destinations? Start by planning your home away from home here.



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Thanksgiving-specific + Dining photos by Sarah Pflug

Crafting + Cornhusk + Pumpkins photos by Matthew Henry

Full Moon by Tina Martin

Cookies by Fernanda Publio