In just a few days there will be turkeys on the table with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, greens and don’t dare forget the pumpkin pie. Families will gather and the football will be on the big screen. That’s how we celebrate Thanksgiving in the good old USA.
What about other places around the world. Somehow I just don’t see the Asian culture gathered around asking for a second helping of yams! So what do they do in that and other parts of the world. I did some surfing on the net as well as gathered a few facts from the history channel in order to put together some pretty neat information about Thanksgiving around the world.
Lets start in South India. The celebrate Onam, a celebration of the harvest festival (sound familiar?). They celebrate for not one but ten days in the month of Chingam, which is the August/September time frame here. The Onam festival is a period in which people put on their new and best clothing in order to “renew the heart” by removing all bad thoughts and feelings! The usual feast is served on banana leaves and consist of rice, traditional pickles and papadam. Desert is usually a sweet dish made of milk and sugar that is called payasam. They also celebrate by creating multi colored floral decorations and having boat races!
Hop on the imaginary plane and come with me to Eastern Asia! Here the “thanksgiving” celebration is called the Moon Festival. The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eight lunar moon, which to us is usually around late September. The traditional food of this festival is mooncake, a sweet bean-paste filling with golden brown flaky skin. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes ( Chinese grapefruit) together. They also enjoy putting pomelo rinds on one's head, carrying brightly lit lanterns and burning incense.
Moving right along to Ghanna and Nigeria. Here you will find the Yam Festival being held in early August and he end of a rainy season. There the main food is the Yam…imagine that! They offer yams to the gods and ancestors first before serving them to the villagers.
Our last stop in our fifteen minute Thanksgiving tour will be to Israel where they celebrate the Succoth. The celebration last for seven days and it is a Biblical pilgramage festival that occurs on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri (late September to October). The feast is also known as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles because Jewish families build outdoor booths during the Succoth celebration to represent the period of time in which the Hebrews would temporarily use to eat their meals, entertain and even sleep in.
I must admit that throughout writing this article I made a few faces and thought of how some of the meals simply didn’t sound very appetizing to me. However, in thinking about it, I’m sure our meal may not sound all that great to them either. We stuff a big bird full of a seasoned breading and eat greens that are picked from the ground, along with smashed up orange potatoes that we make into a pie. Mmmmm, okay it still sounds good to me! Happy Turkey Day!
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