'Erntedankfest,' or a German Thanksgiving

Staff Writer
The German tradition is similar in spirit to its American counterpart, but still unique

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Churches often decorate for the German 'Erntedankfest' holiday.

A holiday marking a time to give thanks is hardly a North American invention. In fact, many cultures around the world have had "thanksgiving" traditions for centuries.

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One of the more established European examples is Germany’s Erntedankfest (meaning "harvest festival of thanks"). Unlike in the U.S. or Canada, the holiday does not have an official date, but is most often celebrated on the first Sunday of October (although the date can change depending on the region). It is primarily a religious celebration observed in rural areas in celebration of a successful harvest, and is usually only celebrated in churches in urban settings.

As for the food, different families have different menus, with some serving traditional German dishes like wienerschnitzel, while some families have adopted North American traditions and serve turkey. Dishes aside, both holidays honor the harvest, which usually means many food-inspired decorations including grains, honeycombs, and seasonal produce.  

Want to introduce a traditional German dish to your Thanksgiving meal? Check out this recipe for wienerschnitzel.

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