Friday, November 23, 2018

Yes, Victoria, There is a German Thanksgiving!

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wish you a joyful start to the holiday season!

Although Thanksgiving is widely known as an American tradition, other countries have similar occasions to give thanks and celebrate a harvest. Germany has a so-called Erntedankfest, which roughly translates to “thanks-for-the-harvest-festival”. Although it is not as widespread as American Thanksgiving, the Erntedankfest is a religious holiday celebrated in the Catholic and Protestant churches, often in rural areas.

The Erntedankfest is often celebrated during the first Sunday in October, but the date may vary and can take place much earlier or later. This year, the festival took place on October 6. During this celebration, churches decorate their altars with sheaves of wheat and fruits of the harvest. Some regions may have a small parade, music, dancing and a country fair. People sometimes choose to decorate with an Erntekkrone (“harvest crown”), which is a wheat wreath built up on a pole and decorated with ribbon and paper flowers. This harvest festival is less common in big cities and usually consists only of a church service.

But whether you’re celebrating German Erntedankfest, American Thanksgiving, Canadian Thanksgiving, Argentina’s Fiesta Nacional de la Vendima, Swaziland’s Incwala, the message is the same: give thanks for what you have and celebrate with loved ones.                  

Nicole Glass, The Week in Germany


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