Thanksgiving is how Americans collectively give thanks each year. It’s a time for community, family, and gratitude. However, the United States isn’t the only country with an annual celebration of thanks. Here are a few celebrations happening across the world similar to Thanksgiving where people set time aside to be thankful for everything they have. 

Chuseok – South Korea

Photo credit: Valery Rabchenyuk

Chuseok is one of the biggest travel days of the year in Korea. During the three-day holiday, South Koreans travel from all over the world to be in their home and spend time with their families. Like Thanksgiving in the United States, this Korean holiday involves eating traditional harvest food from their culture. This includes chestnuts, rice cakes, and persimmon.

Usually, Chuseok is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. South Koreans give thanks to their ancestors, share sacred memories, and come together for a time rooted in family and community. The holiday symbolizes a time of bountiful harvest in Korean culture.

Homowo – Ghana

Every year, Homowo is a huge celebration in Africa. Long ago, when the indigenous Ga people of Ghana prayed for rain, it never came, leading to famine and hunger. When the rain finally returned, the people mocked their tribulations by annually celebrating Homowo, meaning “hooting at hunger,” The Ghanaian holiday has its own culinary delights including the sacred yams, kpokpoi, and palm nut soup. There’s plenty of dancing, drum performances, entertainment, and festivities happening during Homowo, which lasts throughout the planting season.

Erntedankfest – Germany

Photo credit: Roman Kraft

The word Erntedankfest literally translates to “thanks for the harvest festival” in German. The holiday happens each year in either September or October and is the German celebration of thanks similar to Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, Germans typically roast up a fattened chicken for Erntedankfest along with a ton of other holiday treats. Whereas Thanksgiving is seen as a time for closeness and family, Erntedankfest is celebrated much more publicly. Everyone is coming together to eat, celebrate community, and give thanks for the harvest. 

Crop Over Festival – Barbados 

Crop Over Festival happens each year in midsummer in Barbados. The holiday celebrates the end of the sugarcane season. Back in the day, Barbados was the biggest producer of sugarcane, making the holiday popular in the country. Crop Over Festival is a multi-day celebration where parties, events, and street fairs are happening nonstop. In addition to celebrating the sugar cane harvest, the festival also celebrates the end of slave labor in Barbados. 

Kinro Kansha no Hi – Japan

Photo credit: Masaaki Komori

Inspired by Niinamesai, an ancient Japanese rice festival, Kinro Kansha no Hi is an annual celebration of thanks in Japan. It takes place each year on November 23. Long ago in Japan, the celebration would symbolize the Emperor making the first harvest offering to the gods. Today, Kinro Kansha no Hi celebrates Japanese workers and is considered the Labor Thanksgiving Day.