Friday, November 19, 2010

Do they have Thanksgiving in Germany?

Despite the obvious reasons why Thanksgiving is an American holiday, people still ask me if Germans celebrate Thanksgiving. To be honest, it's not such a stupid question since Canada has their own Thanksgiving and it is always asked by intelligent people. This week, I started thinking about the different holidays in Germany and the US. There are some holidays Americans celebrate that would never fly here such as VJ Day but that barely flies in the US any more. however, most of the German public holidays would cause so much controversy in the US. Most German public holidays are somehow based in religion, specifically Christianity. We get days off for All Saints Day (Nov. 1), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Corpus Christi (I always thought this was a city in Texas). We don't have many non-religious holidays besides reunification (Oct. 3) and labor day (May 1) and even this is lost if it falls on a weekend. You can see the whole line-up for 2011 here. Most of these holidays would scream for separation of church and state. However, Thanksgiving is different.

Thanksgiving is really a holiday every country should adopt. Maybe we could have a world Thanksgiving. A day to take time out from your normal life and eat a decadent mid-week dinner with your family and/or close friends. A day to be Thankful for what you have in and the people who you love and love you. A day to share your "harvest" and enjoy the people in your life. I know Germans have resisted other American "holidays" due to their commercial nature (i.e. Halloween or Valentine's Day) but Thanksgiving is not really commercial at all. You don't even need to kill a Turkey, vegetarians like Thanksgiving too.

Oddly enough, this year I won't be having a Thanksgiving. Due to several factors, mostly my work schedule next week, we choose not to prepare a turkey this year. I know it is the right decision but part of me still wishes we could have a bunch of people over to sit around our long table and eat a stuffed bird. There's something special about Thanksgiving that I'll miss this year. I'm hoping I can get through the week and at least have time to bake an apple pie or maybe I can try my new whoopie pie pan out!

Maybe next year, I'll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US with my family. The last Thanksgiving I had with my family was in 2005 when I was still at URI. That seems so long ago and so does college. Would you adopt Thanksgiving in Germany? Do you think other countries would take it on board too?

No comments: