Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States that occurs on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Legend has it that the “first Thanksgiving” was celebrated in November 1621, after the Pilgrim’s first successful corn harvest. The true history is rather different, especially from the point of view of the Wampanoag, the Indian nation on whose land the Pilgrims arrived. Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, describes the event: “The true history of Thanksgiving starts with a treaty.… It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours.” After the first successful harvest, she explains, the colonists “were shooting guns and cannons as a celebration.” Ninety warriors went to investigate what was going on and stayed in the area for several days, sometimes eating with the Pilgrims.
“The true history of Thanksgiving starts with a treaty.… It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours.”
As the years progressed, different colonies celebrated and gave thanks on different days throughout the year, until Abraham Lincoln finally designated it as a national holiday in 1863 as a way to promote unity during the Civil War.
Today, many families in the U.S. celebrate the day by cooking a large meal with family and friends, typically centering on a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Though it may be a U.S. holiday, there are other countries that have their own Thanksgiving celebrations each year.
In Germany, Erntedankfest is celebrated on the first Sunday in October to give thanks for a good year of good fortune. The festival includes dancing and a parade where the Queen of Harvest is presented with a crown. They don’t indulge in turkey, but chicken, geese, and hens are fattened up for the occasion.
Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day on November 23 each year. Dating back to 1948, the celebration recognizes hard work and community involvement. Mental Floss explains that the celebrations include “labor organization-led festivities, and children creating crafts and gifts for local police officers.”
Liberian Thanksgiving occurs on the same day as the U.S. Thanksgiving. It shares many of the same traditions because slaves who were freed from the U.S founded Liberia. The menu might be different, with cassavas instead of potatoes and highly spiced meats, but the basic traditions remain.
Canadian Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1879 and was celebrated on November 6. In 1957, Parliament changed it to the second Monday in October as a day to “give thanks to the Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” Celebrations include parades and meals that contain many of the same foods as U.S. Thanksgiving.
When the ambassador of Brazil visited the U.S. in 1905, he enjoyed the Thanksgiving traditions so much, he “melded the American traditions with the local Brazilian festival to create what is now known as Dia de Ao de Graas – a day of giving thanks. Though not a national holiday, many Brazilians still celebrate with turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings as they spend time with family.
Things That Make Us Thankful
At ITC Global Translations, we’re thankful for our professional translators who work so hard to get the job done quickly and efficiently. We’re thankful for the multiple language pairs that help aid in global communication. We’re thankful that we can offer assistance in so many industries, and we’re thankful for the clients who have been using our services to meet their business needs for so many years.
No matter how you celebrate this holiday, or what you’re thankful for, you can count on us to meet your translation needs throughout any season. If you’re looking for software translation, or a new menu for your turkey-themed restaurant, contact us. You’ll be thankful that you did.