Thanks giving around the World

 2  Festivals and Celebrations

Thanks giving around the World

Festivals are not just the means of entertainment or rejoice. They also reflect our heritage, culture and traditions. Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world to extend thanks for the harvest, enjoying bountiful food, and spending time with family and friends. Even though Thanksgiving seems to be uniquely American, the tradition is followed in different countries in various forms.


Thanksgiving, USA

Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving in the USA is a national holiday that commemorates the feast the Pilgrims held after the first harvest in 1621. The first celebration was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 pilgrims. Thanksgiving has been celebrated intermittently ever since. 

Thanksgiving dinner with family plays a central role in the celebrations, with Americans eating more food on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, including Christmas. Roast turkey is essential - approximately 45 million of them are consumed every year as well as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and assorted fall vegetables, all food that is native to the Americans. 

Parades are a big part of the celebrations too. They range from small town affairs featuring the local marching band to Macy's Thanksgiving parade through the streets of New York. Billed as the world's largest parade, it features parade floats and huge balloons, usually based on cartoon characters, current Broadway shows and other topical themes.

Chuseok, South Korea

Chuseok, also called Hangnail, is a Korean festive holiday celebrated on the 15th day of August, according to the lunar calendar. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the fall harvest and to honour one's ancestors. Similar to Thanksgiving Day in the USA, the Harvest Moon Festival, as it is also known, is one of the most popular holidays in Korea. Traditionally, Koreans return to their ancestral hometowns to celebrate with their families.

The festival day begins with a ceremony in which food and wine are offered to ancestors. This is followed by a meal that typically consists of fish and newly harvested vegetables and grains. The food most associated with the holiday is songpyon, a crescent-shaped rice cake that is cooked on a bed of pine needles. Later in the day, celebrants visit the graves of relatives, where more ceremonies are performed. Chuseok is also marked by gift giving and athletic events, including tug-of- war competitions, archery contests, and sirrum, Korean wrestling matches. Other activities include dancing and music playing. On this day, many Koreans wear hanbok, the traditional clothing. 

Dia de Acao de Gracas, Brazil

In Brazil, Thanksgiving is a relatively new festival - but it's celebrated with great gusto. It is said that when the former Brazilian President, Gaspar Dutra visited the USA, he was fascinated with the holiday and established the festival in his home country in 1949. 

Dia de Acao de Gracas begins with the mass to offer thanks for an abundant harvest - then there is a vibrant carnival and revellers head to the beach, Peru. Roasted turkey is still the centrepiece of the Brazilian Thanksgiving feast, but there are a few exotic twists. Cranberries do not grow in Brazil, so a sauce made of Jaboticaba, known as the 'Brazilian grape', is whipped up to spread on the bird.

Thanksgiving, Liberia

Liberian Thanksgiving is a vibrant and spicy affair. Founded in the 19th century by liberated American slaves, the festival gives thanks for freedom. Liberians celebrate the good things in life, while also marking their troubled past.

After a church service, families gather for a spread of roasted chicken, traditional green bean casserole and mashed cassava - all liberally doused with spices, of course. The Thanksgiving feast is topped off with an evening of dancing, singing and celebration.


Crop Over, Barbados

The celebration of Crop Over is Barbados's biggest party. The festival spreads over a length of 12 weeks, from May until August, when it culminates in the massive finale: the Grand Kadooment.


Originally a celebration of the sugar cane harvest, Crop Over has been celebrated since the 1780s when Barbados was the world's largest produce of the sweet-stuff. Carnivals pervade the lengthy celebrations, and calypso bands and dancers compete in ever grander and more flamboyant displays.

Homowo, Ghana

The Homowo festival, meaning to jeer or hoot at hunger in Ghana historically celebrates the ending of a long famine suffered by the Ghanaians. What could be better to celebrate the end of shortage than a feast? Palm nut soup with fish is served alongside traditional Kpokoi, a kind of grits made from unleavened corn dough and palm oil.


Starting in May with the sowing of millet, the festival takes place through August and September after a ban on drumming and singing that is meant to encourage proper care of the crops. The festival culminates in a night of singing and dancing and frantic beating of drums in loud defiance of hunger and famine.


Mehregan, Iran

A festival that dates back at least to the 4th century BC, Mehregan in Iran is held on the 196th day of the Iranian year. The festival celebrates a successful harvest and the goddess Mehr.


The celebration calls for new clothes, community blessings and a feast on a table decorated with marjoram. The spread includes sherbert drinks and lavish dinners; in some villages, a sheep is sacrificed and slow- roasted throughout the day.


Revellers rub kohl around their eyes as a good omen, and throw handfuls of marjoram, lotus and sugar plum seeds over each other.


A. The meanings of some of the words from the text are given below. Find the words and write against the correct meanings.

a. in a way occurring at irregular intervals; not continuous or steady.            = Intermittently

b. to remind people of an important event or person from the past.               = Commemorate

c. in a way that shows the usual qualities or features of a particular type of person or thing.

= Typically

d. a curved shape that is wide in the middle and pointed at each end.          = Crescent-shaped

e. full of life and energy.        = Vibrant

f. a person who is having fun in a noisy way, usually with a group of other people. = Revellers

g. from or in another country; seeming exciting and unusual.            = Exotic

h. to spread through and be easy to notice.                = Pervade

i. brightly coloured and likely to attract attention.     = Flamboyant

j. done quickly and with a lot of activity, but not very well organized.         = Frantic


B. The following events represent different activities observed during Thanksgiving around the world. Study them carefully and write the names of countries where they are celebrated.

a. Families gather for a feast in the evening accompanied by dancing and singing. = Liberia

b. People wear new clothes and get community blessings. = Iran

c. Palm nut soup, fish and traditional Kpokoi are served. = Ghana

d. People return to their hometowns to celebrate the festival. = South Korea

e. Celebrants go to the beach in a noisy way. = Brazil

f. Parades are taken out in the streets.= USA

g. Food and wine are offered to the forefathers. = South Korea

C. Answer the following questions.

a. What is the main feature of American Thanksgiving?

- Thanksgiving dinner with family.

 b. What do parades include in Thanksgiving in America?

- Parade includes floats and huge balloons based on various themes.

 c. When and why is Chuseok celebrated in Korea?

- Chuseok is celebrated on the 15th day of August (according to the lunar calendar) to commemorate the fall harvest and honor one's ancestors.

 d. How did Thanksgiving begin in Brazil?

- It began when the former Brazilian President, Gaspar Dutra, visited the USA and was inspired by the holiday. He established Thanksgiving in Brazil in 1949.

e. Who started Thanksgiving in Liberia?

- Thanksgiving in Liberia was started by liberated American slaves in the 19th century.

f. Why was it started? What is Thanksgiving celebrated in Barbados for?

- Thanksgiving in Barbados, known as Crop Over, was originally a celebration of the sugar cane harvest when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar.

g. What is Homowo marked in Ghana?

- Homowo in Ghana marks the celebration of the end of a long famine and is a feast to jeer at hunger.


Grammar II

A. Rewrite the following sentences choosing the correct alternative from brackets.

a. Sujita asked her mother.......(when her father would come home, when will her father come home, when might her father come home).

b. She replied that she had never had caviar when I said to her, " ....caviar?" (Have you ever had, Will you have, Would you have)

c. The salesperson said to him, "What...........for you?" (I can do, can I do, I could do)

d. The tourist inquired from Banepa. (whether I belonged, whether I would belong, whether I am belonging)

e. The little girl asked us what come back. (were we supposed, we were supposed, we had been supposed)

f. The head teacher asked her ........ the exam form the week before. (whether she had filled out, whether she fills out, whether had she filled out)

g. Renuka asked me.........her. (if I have called, if I had called, if had I called)


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