The Land of the Rising Sun has more things in common with us in the US than we can imagine. Yes, their history has more pages than ours but that does not mean we can’t share things. Among the things we share there is Thanksgiving Day. Created to celebrate the year’s harvest.
A Little History of Thanksgiving
Having its roots in Britain since the time of the Protestant Reforms, Thanksgiving started as a Catholic holiday. Every religion or cult celebrated the passing of seasons and the wealth of a harvest before winter and this was exactly our holiday’s intention.
The Japanese holiday is actually called Thanksgiving Labor Day. Celebrated annually every November 23rd, it now has the status of National Holiday. Created and established during the American occupation after World War II, to celebrate labor and production as well as to celebrate your peers. People will have festivals and parties celebrating their hard labor. A big difference is the fact that the Thanksgiving dinner is not carried out, so don’t go to Japan expecting to have turkey and gravy!
The Western version of Thanksgiving
The stories defer between the origins of the Canadian and US celebrations. The story behind Thanksgiving in the States is one well known. In 1621 the feast at Plymouth is widely regarded as the first Thanksgiving celebration in honor of the great harvest they had that year. People from southern states will debate this fact and provide their own origin for the holiday. In Canada, on the other hand, there isn’t a clear origin to Thanksgiving. One story says that it wasn’t in celebration of harvest but as a gratitude of surviving the dangerous voyage. On the other hand, French-Canadian tradition does say that it was the settlers way of giving thanks for a good harvest.