In November, while the US and Canada are eagerly preparing for Thanksgiving, Australia is silent as if nothing had happened. So, the question is when is Thanksgiving in Australia? Is Thanksgiving celebrated in Australia?
History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a major American holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November every year. On this day, tasty foods are prepared and all family members gather around the table and enjoy delicious food together and say the things they are grateful for.
Thanksgiving originally originated as a harvest festival. It has been celebrated as a national holiday since 1789 but after George Washington proclaimed the founding of Congress, it has been celebrated as a Federal holiday since 1864.
How did the first Thanksgiving happen?
Religious refugees from England, also known as pilgrims, invited Native Americans to attend a festival in 1621. In the previous year, 1620 all the crops of the Pilgrims were failed and half of them starved to death.
To their luck, the Wampanoag tribe taught them how to do farming and they planted Corn, Beans, and Pumpkin which people call the three sisters.
When the pilgrims learned how to farm and hunt, they were able to fend for themselves. The pilgrims held a feast to thank God for allowing them to live to this day. They invited the local Iroquois chief and 90 members of his tribe and enjoyed a meal together. Since then, every year the descendants of the Pilgrims have always celebrated thanksgiving for the good things that have come in life.
Why Isn’t Thanksgiving Popular In Australia?
So everything is clear. Thanksgiving Day in Australia is different from the US or Canada. Simply because it has nothing to do with Australian history. Thanksgiving has its roots in the early settlers of the US who experienced poor crops. It was then formalized around the end of the American Civil War.
The history of Thanksgiving also says that the first settlers in America didn’t appear in Australia. Australia also didn’t participate in the American Civil War. The history is different, so the results are also different.
In addition, because Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so are the seasons. Americans and Canadians prepare a hearty meal to celebrate the end of the growing season in November, as it will be quite cold and dark for a while. However, in Australia, November is the end of spring, summer is just around the corner, so they mainly spend more time out and about.
There is one small exception – Norfolk Island, due to some early American ties dating back to the 1880s, celebrates Thanksgiving in the American style. Norfolk Island is an Australian territory north of NZ, and east of roughly where NSW and QLD meet. In general, though, it doesn’t work for Australians, it’s not part of their history or culture.
When Is Thanksgiving Day In Australia?
In Australia, there are also several Harvest festivals that usually take place around Easter. However, they do not use the term ‘Thanksgiving’. As noted above, Australians do not celebrate American Thanksgiving but instead celebrate Australia’s National Day of Thanks on the last Saturday in May.
Australia’s National Day of Thanks is a special opportunity for Australians to celebrate and thank God for their precious heritage as this beautiful country. It’s a day when Australians remember their country and give thanks to God and thank each other for the good things they bring to each other that make people’s lives truly worth living.
How this holiday is celebrated is entirely up to each Australian, whether it is celebrated at home, at church, or in the community. But whatever it is, every Australian is encouraged to make a difference this holiday.
Finally, it’s important to note that although recognized as a public holiday, Australia’s National Day of Thanks is not among the official Australian holidays of the year. Therefore, lots of Australians often care about the spiritual factor without thinking about partying. Even when asked “do they celebrate Thanksgiving Day in Australia?”, many Australians did not hesitate to answer “no”!
What do they eat on Thanksgiving in Australia?
Most Australians don’t pay attention to Thanksgiving, so the meal on that day is simply whatever it could be. However, on Thanksgiving, some American-themed restaurants will have Thanksgiving-related events for lonely expats and curious Australians. The menus there seem to have obvious staples, as well as whatever the restaurant usually does (burgers, ribs, whatever that may be).
The only exception to this is the outer territory of Norfolk Island, where Thanksgiving is celebrated but on a slightly different date from the United States or Canada. There is a wide range of traditional dishes to be eaten there, especially those with plun (cooked bananas). Pilhi is also quite common.
To Sum it Up
Thanksgiving has a lot of rich history and the purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for what you have been blessed with. Different people follow different traditions but the spirit with which they celebrate this holiday never changes.
Australia has not been left behind in this practice. While not most Australians are interested in this day, it is clear that the holiday is becoming quite popular in the area. Western culture is gradually being introduced into a large population. Modern Thanksgiving is about family, gratitude, and thankfulness.
In the end, no matter where or how you celebrate Thanksgiving, we just want to say “Happy Thanksgiving”.