Happy Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday in the United States replete with family dinners, parades, football games or other family traditions. But the day is truly all about giving thanks!

Did you know that other countries celebrate the giving of thanks, as well?  In this blog, four countries will be featured.


For our neighbor to the north, the Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.  It has been celebrated since 1879 but became a fixed holiday after the proclamation by the Governor General of Canada, Vincent Massey, on 31 January 1957 stating: "A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed—to be observed on the second Monday in October."[1]

A friend in Canada described their Thanksgiving as a time when they join with family on the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday of Thanksgiving weekend. They have a turkey dinner with all the fixings and pumpkin pie for dessert and she loves having the excuse to have the children and their families together. It sounds very similar to an American Thanksgiving but on a different day.


Though England does not celebrate Thanksgiving as is done in the United States and Canada, they do have a harvest festival which celebrates the harvest and food grown in the United Kingdom. This is close to the time of the harvest moon which is usually near the end of September. Memories of a native from England include attending the Church of England as a young child with her family and taking vegetables to church and putting them on the altar. In school, they learned it was celebrated near the time of the harvest moon and there would be an assembly to learn about the farmers harvesting their crops. Vegetables were brought to school and set at the front on the stage and the children were also taught how lucky they are to have such great harvests. The fruit and vegetables were later given to the poor.

While stationed in England with the U.S. Air Force, we celebrated Thanksgiving on the traditional American Thursday. Collectively, we prepared a full traditional American Thanksgiving dinner and held it at a church hall. American and English friends both attended and it was a glorious feast.

The Netherlands

According to an article in Smithsonian Magazine dated 21 November 2012, Colin Schultz reminds us that many of the Pilgrims first came to Leiden where they lived and worked before heading to the New World in 1620. He claims that “the connection is still strong enough that every year, on the day of American Thanksgiving, people gather in a 900-year-old church known as Pieterskerk to celebrate the perseverance and good fortunes of the early American settlers.”[2] Pieterskerk is located in Leiden and it is known today as the church of the Pilgrim Fathers.


In Germany, the Erntedankfest (thanks for the harvest festival) is celebrated usually in October. It may have been a celebration for hundreds of years and today it is still a religious holiday.  In 1972, the Catholic church proclaimed the first Sunday in October as the day of celebration, but according to a native, this did not catch on in the area where he lived since old traditions die hard. He explained that it could be celebrated on different Sundays depending on which parish your town belonged.  In addition, not every town within the same parish celebrated it on the same Sunday.  In some parishes there is a procession through the village with a large crown made of straw. This could be carried on a pole or sometimes a Harvest Queen was chosen who might wear a wheat crown.

The food for this festival is not the traditional turkey as seen in America, but afternoon food included a lot of cakes and pies and coffee while the evening meal was a warm cooked dinner and liquor.  The family whose turn it was to have the Erntedankfest in their town hosted the afternoon and evening meals for their relatives that came to visit.

According to the article, “What is Erntedankfest? A German Thanks for the Harvest,” “the Church altar is typically decorated with large crowns of wheat (to represent the continuing season” and a display of seasonal fruits and vegetables...in some communities, baskets are filled with locally harvested produce, and break baked from local grain. These are blessed and distributed to the needy.”[3]


No matter where we live, the giving of thanks can not only be a holiday but should be a way of life. If everyone lived in Thanksgiving daily the world would change. There would be happiness and joy surrounding us and our communities. Instead of criticism there would be praise.  Instead of anger, there would be kindness. Instead of fear, there would be peace. But considering it personally, by living in Thanksgiving daily in our own lives, we will have greater joy as will those around us.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week and then followed by days of giving thanks.

Diane and all of us at Price Genealogy


[1] “Thanksgiving (Canada)” (Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(Canada)#cite_note-6).    

[2] Schultz, Colin, “They Celebrate American Thanksgiving in the Netherlands,” 21 November 2012 (Smithsonian Magazine https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/they-celebrate-american-thanksgiving-in-the-netherlands-140671441/).

[3]  Karenanne, “What is Erntedankfest? A German Thanks for the Harvest,” 26 September 2017 (German Girl in America https://germangirlinamerica.com/what-is-erntedankfest/).