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Thanksgiving in Other Cultures

We’ve discussed U.S. and Canadian Thanksgiving traditions <a title="Thanksgiving Traditions" href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/happy-thanksgiving-canada/" target="_blank">in previous posts</a> (which came first, types of foods and so forth), but the world is decidedly much bigger than North America and we can only imagine people are thankful for their harvests in other places. But, who are these other Thanksgiving celebrators? When do they throw their parties? What do they eat? And … are we invited? <strong>The Netherlands</strong> Everybody knows Netherlanders love to party, but what many may not know is that some of America’s Pilgrims – yeah, <em>those</em> Pilgrims – lived in the land of tulips before thumbing a ride on the Mayflower. As such, the Dutch celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day we do! BONUS: In a strange twist, the Dutch celebration is more reflective of the history of our Pilgrims and the discovery of the New World than those held in the U.S. Most of us have reduced the tradition to a day off of work and a chance to gorge on huge, yummy birds. <strong>China</strong> China’s answer to Thanksgiving is the Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival for those who don’t like cool-sounding holiday names. The harvest celebration takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which puts it in September or October. BONUS: You can’t have a Moon Festival without <em>mooncakes</em>. These pastries usually have a sweet filling and are to be eaten under the harvest moon to achieve maximum festival deliciousness. <strong>Germany   </strong> Germany’s efficient linguistic habit of smashing several words together into one long string of letters gives them the celebration of <em>Erntedankfest</em>: the harvest festival of thanks. This party gets started on the first Sunday in October and is observed in much the same way as it is here with friends, family, food and maybe even a parade or two. Oh, and beer. BONUS: Erntedankfest is not a national holiday in Germany and harvest celebrations can, ah, <em>crop</em> up in September and October depending on the region and who’s throwing the party. <strong>Israel </strong> Many a scholar will tell you that Judaism really sets the standard for harvest festivals. There’s Passover, Shavuot and then Sukkot – otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles, and arguably the closest equivalent to the American Thanksgiving, at least date-wise (anywhere between late September and late October). BONUS: Observers of Jewish faith who also love Thanksgiving will face unique circumstances in 2013 because it will be the first time in <em>125 years</em> that Chanukah will overlap with Turkey Day. We don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it sounds like it has the potential to be the most delicious holiday in the last century. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes you enjoy your harvest celebration wherever you may be during the season.
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