America's Thanksgiving has come a long way from the harvest celebrations of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. As centuries passed, the holiday has evolved into a grand feast and familial celebration, at which we give thanks over mountains of food and gallons of booze and maybe watch the parade and football and, oh, don't forget the Turkey Trot...
Although few other places celebrate a Thanksgiving that Americans would recognize, many traditions of thanks around the world involve food. Even simple gestures like not arriving to a dinner party empty handed show appreciation to friends and hosts.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching in the U.S., we put together a list of thankful food customs from around the world showcasing ways different countries celebrate thanks with food. This list covers celebrations, ceremonies, rituals, and customs from grand harvest festivals to mealtime prayers to vodka shots down the hatch.
We pulled from previous lists of Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations around the world. We also spoke with some avid thanks-givers; we learned about homeland celebrations as well as thoughts from travelers and transplants about customs they've experienced along the way.
From Clotilde Dusoulier, a French food writer and the author of the blog Chocolate & Zucchini, we learn simple and thoughtful French customs. Canadian food blogger Allison Day shares her Thanksgiving traditions. Eva Rodriguez-Greguski, founder of the budding New York-based nonprofit HomeGrown Change, teaches us the elegant art of gifting she learned from her travels. Laurie Anderson, a Canadian expat living in Mexico, tells us how her new home country gives thanks.
Merci, grazie, arigato, and thanks for reading on to learn about the ways people say thanks with food around the world.