Wait, There’s More than One Thanksgiving?

by Taylor Bata

What if you could have Thanksgiving more than once a year? Well if you’re into the holiday that much for some reason, you can! All you need to do is buy tickets to Canada, the United States and South Korea.

Let’s begin our journey in the United States, the home of Thanksgiving. As many Americans know, the holiday symbolises the feast between Native Americans and the Pilgrims after they began to work together for the Pilgrim’s survival after a nasty winter. That is, of course, a romanticised version of what actually happened, but nevertheless the feelings of thanks and the joining of family ring true in the modern celebration of the day.

So, I’m an American, how do I celebrate this holiday?

Normally, on the last Thursday of the month, a small portion of my extended family comes to my house for coffee and dinner. Usually my cousins and great aunt drive in from Maine to spend Thanksgiving with my family. At dinner, the table is laden with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, asparagus, stuffing, bread, and other small bites to eat.

For me, this holiday isn’t about how it was started or the political and historical inaccuracies that followed in its creation, but the opportunity to spend time with friends and family who I don’t see as often as I’d like.

Now, we will travel to the land of my neighbours to the north, Canada.

Originally started as a holiday dedicated to thanking God for being Canadian, Thanksgiving in Canada has become somewhat homogeneous to the current values of the holiday in the US. However, instead of starting late-fall like its counterpart, Canadian Thanksgiving “falls” on October 8th.

David B, one of the many Canadian students at ASW describes his Thanksgiving as, “a holiday where friends and family get together to celebrate.” Much like the American holiday, it seems that the Canadian value has shifted from its original conception ideals to a more family-focused event. In even more similarity, the foods consumed is virtually the same as a typical American Thanksgiving: “Turkey and pie,” David states.

Finally, let us take a long flight to Korea, our most unique Thanksgiving celebration. Chuseok is it’s name, and being a joyful celebration is what it’s known for. It is a harvest festival that spans over a period of three days. Geunseok S, told me a little bit more about the holiday. “This holiday means relaxing and spending time with family instead of going to school,” he said. “Additionally, you can play some traditional Korean games like juggling and fire-can swinging. Its kind of like a festival.”

When asked about a follow up of what fire-can swinging is, Geunseok said that, “It’s exactly what you think it is.”

So it sounds like despite the difference of location and time, (Geunseok tells me that the festival is in August), Chuseok shares the same current core values as both Canadian and American Thanksgiving.

However, there is one aspect that is completely different: food. “We have so many foods for that day like songpyeon, a rice cake. Also jeon, which is fried food like pumpkin and fish.”

And there you have it, three holidays that fall at three different times during the year, all celebrated differently within different countries, but all share the same values at heart, spending time with family. 

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