The end of November is approaching and Americans are getting ready for the celebration of Thanksgiving. If you are not American you may not know that it is a public holiday always celebrated the fourth Thursday of November commemorating a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Even though this the most American holiday of all, other countries have adopted this celebration. For instance, U.S. Canadian neighbors celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday of October giving thanks for a successful harvest, a tradition from European heritage. It is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions, being optional in some Canadian provinces. Thanksgiving dishes in Canada are similar to the ones in the U.S. (roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and other fall vegetables). Puerto Rico, an American territory, is another place where Thanksgiving is celebrated but with a Caribbean hint, especially in the dinner menu. Dishes with plantains like tostones (fried plantains) and mofongo (a plantain mash used as stuffing), pavochon (a slow roasted turkey), morcilla (blood sausage) and tembleque (a kind of cinnamon coated coconut custard) are part of the feast. As in the U.S., most businesses are closed, families gets together and people go shopping the next day.
Going a little more far away, I found that Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Liberia and in a remote Australian island. The commemoration in Liberia (the first Thursday of Nov) may be explained by the fact that it was a country founded by U.S. colonization. In this part of the world, settlers replaced turkey and pumpkins with more local ingredients like chicken and cassavas. The Australian territory, Norkfold Island, celebrates Thanksgiving the last Wednesday of November giving thanks to American trader Isaac Robinson. Traditional foods in this region are cold pork and chicken and pumpkin pie.
Lastly, expats and Americans that circumstantially find themselves outside the U.S. (vacations, business) have to celebrate abroad. I used to live in the U.S. Midwest and have the wonderful experience of having Thanksgiving dinner at friends’ houses. There, I´ve learn not only about the typical foods but also about values and sharing. I didn´t felt foreign. Once back to my home town, Buenos Aires (Argentina), I kind of miss this Holiday. So, every year I try to have a special meal with family at home or in a restaurant (I´m not that good at roasting turkey). The best place to celebrate Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires is Kansas Grill and Bar.
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