We're not the only thankful ones: How people give thanks around the world

4 Surprising Facts About Thanksgiving In Canada
4 Surprising Facts About Thanksgiving In Canada

Although Thanksgiving is an American holiday, giving thanks is not a uniquely American tradition -- there are plenty of nations besides the United States that honor being thankful with love, celebration and, most importantly, food.

Even though thank you might sound different in every language, being grateful is an internationally understood concept.

From Canada to Korea, here's a roundup of how countries give thanks around the world:

1. Israel -- Sukkot
Also known as Feast of the Tabernacles, this 7-day harvest holiday is meant not only to commemorate the forty-year span during which the Jewish people wandered in the desert, taking up only temporary shelters, but also to give thanks for the fall harvest. Traditionally, people erect a temporary booth or hut, called a sukkah, in which they eat, celebrate and sometimes even sleep throughout the 7-day span. The holiday generally falls in late September or early October.

2. Korea -- Ch'usok
Also generally in September or October, Ch'usok is one of Korea's three major holidays. During Ch'usok, Korean families not only celebrate with feasting and sharing stories, but also pay respect to their ancestors. Only after a memorial service -- and often a trip to the graveyard where ancestors are buried -- do those celebrating indulge in the bountiful banquet of food. This usually includes Songpyeon, stuffed rice cakes. The holiday is also traditionally celebrated with a historic "circle dance" called Ganggangsuwollae.

3. Ghana and Nigeria -- Yam Festival
At the end of the rainy season, usually August or September, the people in Ghana and Nigeria give thanks to spirits of the earth and sky for their bountiful yam harvest. Called Homowo in Ghana, which translates to "hooted at hunger," the yam festival is also in commemoration of their ancestors who harvested yams in the face of famine. The best yams are blessed by local chiefs and saved for a giant feast that also includes dancing, singing and drum-playing.

4. Canada -- Thanksgiving
Although the Canadian Thanksgiving predated the American one by nearly 50 years, it only became an annual holiday in 1879. On the second Monday of October, the Canadian people celebrate explorer Martin Frosbisher's safe 1578 arrival in Newfoundland, Canada. The traditional Canadian Thanksgiving food is similar to that of the United States, usually including turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

5. China -- Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
In addition to celebrating the end of the harvest season, the Chinese people pay respect to the legend that the moon is at its brightest and roundest on its date, which is usually in September or October. This "may inspire rekindled friendship or romance," adding another sweet aspect to the tradition of thanksgiving. Appropriately, the traditional food for this holiday is a mooncake, a pastry that can be stuffed with either sweet or savory fillings.

No matter where you are, these two things seem to be universal: Food and love.

On the other hand, check out these common Thanksgiving practices that have no traditional place:

Thanksgiving Traditions That Have Nothing To Do With Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Traditions That Have Nothing To Do With Thanksgiving

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