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  • 5 Thanksgiving Traditions Around the World

    Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Swift! Even though this year has been a crazy ride (to say the least), one thing that we are extremely grateful for is all of you. All of our clients have been so patient and understanding, and for that, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

    Though Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year than in years past, it still brings along the same message – give thanks to all of the people that have been there for you, be grateful for everything that you have, and embrace the warmth that the holidays bring along. In America, we usually think of a traditional Thanksgiving as getting together with family and friends, watching football, and enjoying a meal together. Which made us begin to wonder, what does Thanksgiving look like in other parts of the world? After doing some research, we found that there are some pretty amazing Thanksgiving traditions, all celebrated in their own unique way.

    Mid-Autumn Festival – China

    The Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Harvest Moon Festival) is typically celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This means that the festival occurs either in September or October (when the moon is shining the brightest). 

    This festival is known for getting together with loved ones and showing gratitude for a successful harvest. During this time, many families will enjoy a delicious meal, pass out mooncakes to all of the little ones, and then afterwards, will go outside and light colorful paper lanterns.  

    Try making your own mooncakes at home with this recipe.

    Pongal – India

    Pongal is a tradition like no other, as it is celebrated in India over the course of four days during either January or February (depending on when the crops are harvested).

    • During the first day, the Bhogi festival takes place to celebrate the god of rain. On this day, families usually perform a ritual called Bhogi Mantalu, where items that are no longer needed around the household are tossed into a bonfire. 
    • On day two, a ritual is performed where milk and rice are placed together in a pot and boiled as an offering to the sun god. 
    • During the third day of Pongal (Mattu Pongal), cattle are celebrated. People will paint the horns of their cattle, give them a bath, and offer them a special food dish.
    • Finally, during the fourth and final day of the celebration (Kaanum Ponal), friends and family get together to enjoy a delicious meal, typically on the bank of the Kaveri River, and will say a special prayer to Mother Kaveri. 

    Erntedankfest – Germany

    Erntedankfest takes place mainly in Germany, but there are some people who celebrate it in Switzerland and Austria as well. This holiday typically takes place on the first sunday in October, but can take place a few weeks before or after depending on what crops are being grown.

    Erntedankfest is known for getting together with family and friends, and thanking God for the harvest and for the opportunity to rest after a long harvest season. Some traditions include a church service, parades, dancing, music, a feast, and lantern lightings. One other event that takes place during Erntedankfest is the crowning of the harvest queen with the traditional harvest crown.

    Enjoy making your own version of a harvest crown with this tutorial.

    Asogli Yam Festival – Ghana

    The Asogli Yam Festival (the festival of the yams) takes place in either August or September each year. The festival is dedicated to the hope that there will be a bounty of crops in the coming year, and that no one will face famine.

    Families will get together to compare their crops with hopes to be the family with the largest crop in the community. Other traditions include sharing a tasty meal, dancing, singing, and showing thanks for another great year of harvest.

    Chuseok Harvest Festival – Korea

    Chuseok usually takes place in Korea starting in late September or in early October. During this time, many people will travel to gather with their families, and show gratitude to their ancestors for their bountiful harvest season. 

    Some traditions during the Chuseok Harvest Festival include gathering around and enjoying a table full of food, including the traditional dish, songpyeon, respects are paid to ancestors who have passed, adults and children alike participate in tug-of-war contests, and children dress in the traditional hanbok. 
    Follow this recipe to make your own songpyeon at home.

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