Thursday, November 22, 2018

SearchResearch Challenge (11/22/18): What and why are Thanksgiving traditions?

I love pumpkin pie. 

I like it so much that I baked two pumpkin pies yesterday for Thanksgiving.  Well... truthfully, one is for Thanksgiving, and one is for my birthday celebration, which always gets tangled up with the Thanksgiving festivities.  (Truthfully, I've had pumpkin pie for my birthday instead of cake for the past few decades. That's how much I like it.) 

A painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris titled 'The First Thanksgiving' shows pilgrims and Native Americans gathering to share a meal. Copyright Library of Congress (CC by Attribution)  As we learned in an earlier SRS post, the first Thanksgiving probably wasn't really like this. 

As I baked, I remembered that I'd sent "Happy Thanksgiving" notes to my Canadian friends back in early October.  "Hmmm..." I wondered, "why is Canadian Thanksgiving in October?" 

Since the US Thanksgiving is always the next-to-last Thursday in November, I also found myself sitting at the piano, practicing my Christmas carols and Hannukah songs for an early holiday party that's coming up in just two weeks.  "Why," I also wondered, "aren't there any Thanksgiving songs?  Am I just missing something?"  

This led me to do a bit of special Thanksgiving SearchResearch on the topic.  Some of which I found surprised me.  So I thought I'd share my holiday Research Questions with you in this special Cross-cultural Thanksgiving edition of SRS.  See if you can't figure these out... 

1.  I know Canada and the US celebrate Thanksgiving each fall.  But do any other countries celebrate Thanksgiving (or equivalent holidays) as well?  If so, what are they called, and when are they celebrated? 

2.  What Thanksgiving (and equivalent) traditions do different countries have?  (I bet they don't all eat turkey with cranberry sauce... that's particularly North American.)   

3.  Speaking of ritual foods (turkey, cranberries, etc.)... what ritual songs are associated with the holidays?  Many other holidays have associated songs--why not Thanksgiving?  What am I missing? 

Let us know what you find out.  I'll be back with my answers (and how I found them) next week. 

(And yes, I remember that we did a similar SRS Challenge back in 2011, but this time, I'm looking for several other cultures that have a Thanksgiving celebration--not just one in particular.)  

In the meantime, Merry Thanksgiving!  

Google's Thanksgiving Doodle for 2018 (US)

Search on! 

P.S.  What's the difference between thankful and grateful?  Could we have had Gratesgiving Day instead?  Why is it that I can thank someone, but I find it difficult to grate someone? 


  1. Happy D-Day Tan…
    "P.S. What's the difference between thankful and grateful? Could we have had Gratesgiving Day instead? Why is it that I can thank someone, but I find it difficult to grate someone? "
    "on" seems to be a be a key… like semantics/parsing grate on me… ;˚]P
    (thankfully, I am way erred…)

    T & G
    using [define]:
    the pumpkin SERP
    slightly altered
    the Garrison Keillor take…
    sigogglin…have you tried P-nog?

  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Dr. Russell and everyone

    I was updating my tablet very early this morning and on YouTube suggestions appeared this video. It works for the Season and for Music knowledge too. And also explains in a way why no to much modern songs are good for the Holidays

    The secret chord that makes Christmas music sound so Christmassy

    About Pumpkin Pie, I still haven’t tried. Here is not so popular, I guess. I’ll have to cook it for myself as you do, Dr. Russell.

    For the Challenge:

    [Thanksgiving similar in the world]

    8 Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World Article also mentions food
    Canada’s first Thanksgiving celebration actually predates America’s—by more than 40 years.
    The German equivalent of Thanksgiving is Erntedankfest (“harvest festival of thanks”) in October.
    Liberia’s government passed an act declaring the first Thursday of November as National Thanksgiving Day
    Japan: Kinro Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day) November
    Norfolk Island: November
    West Indian island , Grenada in October
    The Netherlands in November.
    Puerto Rico. They added their food traditon.

    Thanksgiving-Like Holidays From Around the Globe (2011) From the article:
    "Onam," Kochi, India, August
    "Thaipusam," Malaysia, January
    "Pongal," Tamil Nadu, India, January
    "Great Thanksgiving Festival," Japan, November
    "Seren Tahun," West Java, February
    "Bhotojatra," Nepal, before monsoon season
    "Harvest Festival," United Kingdom, September
    "Yurya," Belarus, May

    Will be back with more.

    1. Was thinking about the songs and the only one that I associate with Thanksgiving is the one from Snoopy's Thanksgiving Celebration.

      Vince Guaraldi Trio - Thanksgiving Theme (Audio)

      So tried [Thanksgiving songs]
      New for me. From Billboard.
      Songs for Thanksgiving fall into three different categories.

      (2018) The top 10 Thanksgiving songs that actually exist ... I swear

      After reading Billboard's article tried [songs written for Thanksgiving]

      Another big surprise!

      ‘Jingle Bells’ — written for Thanksgiving? OnDec. 16, 1965, made “Jingle Bells” the first song heard from space

      (2014)Thanksgiving has many more tunes than you might think. Here are the top 12.

      In Spanish, I don't know any song for Thanksgiving but we have one for saying thanks to the life. It is beautiful and sad. And now that I searched found more about it. It is very famous and with many singers with their own version

      Gracias a la vida/ "Thanks to life" Wikipedia

      Raphael - Gracias a la vida - En Directo 50 Años Despues

    2. Good Morning!

      Just read this article related to music and Holiday Spirit. I am thinking maybe there are no more Thanksgiving's songs because people take the Season as a whole part and not just by days. Christmas songs % Spotify Streams. USA, december 2017

      Then searched there for Mexico. Not sure data is what I am looking for plus we need to suscribe in a premium account. However, searched [ Spotify Christmas]

      Most-covered Christmas songs on Spotify as of December 2015

  3. I am from Australia where there is no 'thanksgiving' celebration. I have always looked at the north American culture and wondered:
    [what is thanksgiving]
    At its simplest, it seems like a family gathering (feed the family, of course) where statements of thanks addressing many topics are presented to the family and very often to the family god.
    [who is thanked on thanksgiving]
    Snippets from the first twenty links from Google suggested: 1. the family cook, 2. farmers generally, 3. the family god.
    I was drawn to this 15th link
    I think that Google knows that I am a scientist that clicks on any articles with the term 'science' in it.
    I clicked.
    It seems that the act of saying 'thanks' out loud to people who matter (family) internalises the auras and chuckras; even to say 'thanks' to the farmers who are absent.
    From the first 20 snippets from Google, it seems that no one actually reaches out and personally thank a farmer.
    I better check that I am right that there is no thanksgiving in Australia:
    [thanksgiving in australia]
    Thanksgiving in Australia is a strange experience for an American
    Make Australia grate(ful) again: We need our own day of Thanksgiving
    Why don't Australians celebrate Thanksgiving? (I clicked on this link; this is what it said: "Firstly, it is a US holiday. Its also seriously weird." ... I was right all along)
    Comment: I thought there would be several organised campaigns from churches and the like, but there was only one.