Thanksgiving and Harvest Festivals Around the World

The US and Canada have Thanksgiving Days in November and October respectively. Other countries celebrate Harvest Festivals similar to Thanksgiving in North America. As a homeschooler, I like to teach my children about other cultures. It is a great opportunity to bring the greatness of God into their perception of others and to show them Truth over fiction as well. :)

Here’s a look at how others give thanks and celebrate their bounties.

  • Argentina celebrates the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The Grape Harvest Festival) in March. It’s an important festival for the country because it’s a celebration of wine and the winemaking industry. This is also a great time to sample the best wines and enjoy the festivities.
  • China celebrates the Moon Festival in September. The Moon Festival is also known as a Mid-Autumn Festival by the Asiancommunity. It’s a celebrated holiday like we celebrate Thanksgiving. The three day Moon Festival celebration is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is a great way to teach your kids about other cultures and traditions. Of course, you can make sure to explain that the moon was created by God and HIS purpose for the moon. As a tradition, Asian families exchange a pastry called mooncakes. Mini mooncakes are round, while the regular size are slightly squarish with rounded corners. The decorative pastry is a glossy, golden brown with a flaky thin crust.
  • India celebrates Pongal, a festival of prosperity on January 14. It’s a three day celebration and it’s named after a sweet rice dish. On the first day, Pongal is offered to the rain gods, on the second day Pongal is offered to the sun god and on the third day a cattle is washed and decorated to honor its hard work in the fields. Indians wear new clothes, throw out old household items, and buy new ones.
  •  Iran celebrates Mehregan also known as Thanksgiving Festival and The Autumn Festival of Harvest on October 2nd. Iranians wear new clothes and have a table filled with sweets, fruits such as apples, grapes, pears, and pomegranates. The table also has vegetables and nuts. You’ll also find silver coins and lotus seeds in a dish of water scented with marjoram extract. The celebration consists of feasting, praying, singing and dancing.
  •  Japan celebrates Niimname-sai also known as Labor Thanksgiving Day on November 23rd. In ancient times, it was called the Rice Harvest Festival. The Labor Thanksgiving Day is the honor of labor and production.
  •  Korea celebrates Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving in September. This is the celebration of their bountiful crop in the rice fields. A traditional food item for Chuseok is songpyeon. It’s a type of Korean rice cake made with rice or non-glutinous rice flour. They are crescent shaped and filled with either red beans, sesame seeds, chestnuts or a combination of each. They celebrate with Lion Dances and family getting together and paying their respects to their ancestors at the gravesite.
  • Vietnam celebrates Tet Trung Thu, a Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s also called the Children’s Festival because it’s centered around children activities and education. People buy lanterns for their children so they can light them in a lantern light procession at night. Lanterns represent brightness and the procession symbolizes success in school. Parents participate in contests to win prizes and scholarships. They also eat mooncakes.

No matter what culture you are from, it is a good thing to teach your children about others and to be respectful. It is important to make sure they understand the spiritual sides as well, so that they are aware and not ignorant. Teach them the Truth of God’s Word and ways no matter what subject you are discussing with them!

No matter what, let’s make sure that we are giving thanks to the Creator of all — Our Mighty, loving Lord God Almighty!

How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. – Psalm 31:19 (NLT)

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