I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.
Thanksgiving is not just for US citizens. Many countries celebrate it but many can not pronounce it correctly.
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday because in the US, it is the only holiday that isn't separated by religion. It is for everyone. Thanksgiving is a harvest-related festival. The Pilgrims celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday as a way to show off their harvest to the neighboring villages and Native American tribes. The United States and Canada are the only two countries that actually call it Thanksgiving. Other countries around the world celebrate this holiday in a similar spirit. They include,
China, Brazil, Malaysia, India and Korea, Liberia, the Netherlands, Ghana, Norfolk Island and Germany.
Non-native speakers here in the US have trouble pronouncing the word “Thanksgiving” or the word “thanks” because of the “th” sound at the beginning of the word. The majority of languages don’t have this dreaded “th” sound. American English has a voiceless “’th” as in “thanks” and “teeth” and a voiced “th” as in “the” and “those”. Most non- native Americans pronounce the voiceless “th” with a /t/ sound so they say:” tanks”. In order to pronounce the voiceless “th” sound correctly you need to put your tongue tip between your teeth and blow air over it. My American English Pronunciation Software Program teaches how to perfectly produce these sounds and includes many words, phrases and sentences for rewarding practice and fun.
This is how some other countries celebrate Thanksgiving:
Brazil celebrates its day of thanksgiving much like the United States because an ambassador saw how the United States celebrated and decided to emulate the celebration. The goal of the Brazilian thanksgiving is to give thanks to God for a good harvest.
Korea celebrates its version of Thanksgiving on August 15. The holiday in that country is called Chu-Sok or Chuseok, which translates to "fall evening." Unlike in the United States, where Thanksgiving is just one day, it is three days and involves special foods. Women wear dresses dedicated specifically to the event. On the morning of the day of Chuseok, family members gather at their homes to hold memorial services (called Charye) in honor of their ancestors. It’s a celebration of the harvest and thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth. It is the nation’s biggest traditional holiday, celebrated in September.
IN China, a harvest holiday similar to Thanksgiving known as August Moon is celebrated not in November but in mid-Autumn. The festival takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is at its brightest and roundest. The moon-worshiping festival, celebrated by the eating of moon cakes, which contain an egg yolk to symbolize the moon, has been celebrated in China for more than 2,500 years. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. To express their thanks to the moon and celebrate the harvest, they offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days.
Erntedankfest, the thanksgiving celebration of Germany, occurs around harvest time, September or October, and is marked by church services, a parade, music and a fair. It is also celebrated in parts of Austria and Switzerland.
In Japan, Labor Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday and is celebrated on Nov. 23. It is considered a time to commemorate labor and production and to give one another thanks.
In Canada, Thanksgiving, or l’Action de grâce— was first celebrated in 1578. The spirit of the holiday is to give thanks and celebrate the harvest. It takes place on the second Monday in October.
Liberia, which was colonized by former slaves, celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November. It follows similar traditions to those of Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.
As Smithsonian magazine notes, many Pilgrims lived and worked in the Netherlands city of Leiden, before their voyage to the new world. The connection is still strong enough that every year, on the day of the American Thanksgiving, people gather in a 900-year-old church known as Pieterskerk to celebrate the perseverance and good fortunes of the early American settlers.
Ghana’s Homowo (“hooting at hunger”) Festival is celebrated by the Ga people of the Accra region of Ghana. The festival commemorates the period in history when there was a serious famine in the land. It usually takes place in August.
Norfolk Island is a former British penal colony and current Australian territory that’s populated by the descendants of the H.M.S. Bounty's mutineers and their Tahitian captives (made famous in the 1962 Marlon Brando film "Mutiny on the Bounty"). The island is perhaps best known these days for its biggest export: the Norfolk Island pine, an ornamental sapling that's vaguely reminiscent of a poorly spaced artificial Christmas tree. But the foliage is only part of Norfolk's unique charm. If you’re around in November, you can celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks to American trader Isaac Robinson, who settled on Norfolk as an agent for Burns Philip & Co Ltd. only to become Norfolk’s Registrar of Lands and the island’s first (and so far only) United States consul. Robinson proposed dressing up the All Saints Church in Kingston for an American-style Thanksgiving service in the mid-1890 s to the delight of visiting American whalers, and parishioners who still celebrate the public holiday today by singing American hymns and adorning the church with corn stalks, flowers and produce. Traditional fare consists of cold pork and chicken, banana and, like any good American celebration, pumpkin pie.
In the Jewish culture, families also celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkot. This festival has been celebrated for 3,000 years by building a hut of branches called a Sukkah. Jewish families then eat their meals beneath the Sukkot (plural for Sukkah) under the night sky for eight days.
Thanksgiving Day gives us that rare and valuable opportunity when we can express our gratitude to the people who have been important in our lives. People come and go in our lives, but some of them have a unique role to play, who have helped us in some way or the other. This Thanksgiving day, take the opportunity to thank them and appreciate their presence in your lives with our Thanksgiving wishes. While you’re wishing them a happy thanksgiving be sure to say it with a correct “th”.
Is there a special or different way that you celebrate Thanksgiving? We would love to hear about it. Please write to us and tell us your story.
Our software program, given as a gift, would be great way to say thanks to someone you care about.
By Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist
©2017 Ela Britchkow