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Thanksgiving Around the World!

In North America, we know Thanksgiving as a holiday that occurs during the fall and represents harvest. The Thanksgiving we are accustomed to, is celebrated in other countries around the world for differing reasons with unique cuisines. From the differences of Canadian and American Thanksgiving to information about how this holiday takes place in exotic countries like Liberia and Grenada, we explore the familiar and unfamiliar aspects of this popular holiday below.

Canada

Canadian Thanksgiving is what we know best, with celebrations revolving around giving thanks and celebrating harvest. Thanksgiving in Canada occurs on the second Monday of October each year. Some believe that it is celebrated 6 weeks earlier than American Thanksgiving due to the northern climate allowing for earlier harvest.

What’s on the Menu?

Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations consist of food, family and festivities over a long weekend. For the menu during Canadian Thanksgiving one can expect, roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries and pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert!

» Check out this great recipe: Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellows

The United States

On the fourth Thursday of November each year, Americans assemble to celebrate Thanksgiving by feasting, family gatherings, football and watching parades. Similarly, to Canadian Thanksgiving, the American holiday revolves around giving thanks and the start of harvest. However their special day includes the acknowledgement of the Pilgrims who left Plymouth, England in 1620. Thanksgiving in the United States also has a large emphasis on shopping, with ‘Black Friday’ occurring the day after the holiday and retailers offering discounted pricing to encourage Christmas shopping.

What’s on the Menu?

In terms of the menu, American Thanksgiving is very similar to Canada with many referring to the day as “Turkey Day”. Common dishes are those featured for Canadian Thanksgiving but other popular dishes are corn, winter squash, brussels sprouts and in Southern States, biscuits and cornbread.

» You can’t beat homemade biscuits! Bake this recipe: Scott Peacock’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Liberia

Liberia is a country within West Africa, founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves in the early 19th century. With a history beginning in America, some Western traditions stuck – Thanksgiving being one of them.

Liberians who celebrate Thanksgiving do so on the first Thursday of November. The day is dedicated to giving thanks towards their freedom and the founding of their country. Comparable to Canada and the United States, the day consists of social gatherings and festivities.

What’s on the Menu?

The Thanksgiving dinner itself is alike in its foundation to the West, but adds a Liberian twist. On the menu is roast chicken, mashed cassava and green bean casserole. Mashed cassava, also referred to as yucca root, is a starchy root commonly grown in Liberia. Cassava is creamy, slightly sweeter and more fibrous than a potato. Mashed cassava can be made in a familiar version with garlic or with a unique twist of adding cream cheese, nutmeg and cream – yum!

»Liberian inspired goodness, try this recipe: Garlic Mashed Yucca Root (Cassava Mash)

Grenada

In the Caribbean, Thanksgiving is observed as a religious affair, with a community church service held over the weekend. It is a social event, but there is no emphasis placed on an abundance of food. There is an exception and it can be found in Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island country with traditions inspired by American Thanksgiving. Grenada Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25th and acknowledges when American troops arrived to restore stability in the country after political unrest.

What’s on the Menu?

The Grenada Thanksgiving cuisine stays true to the regions’ nickname, “The Isle of Spice” with much of their cooking containing large quantities of nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Oil down is commonly prepared for festivities, which is a hearty stew made of a medley containing meat, veggies, coconut milk and generous amounts of spices. Other dishes include: roasted pork, mashed cassava root or yams, oxtails and sweet potato pudding or nutmeg ice cream for dessert.

»Try making the national dish of Grenada: Oil Down

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