Turkey, cranberries, and the smell of pumpkin pie are all rituals of Thanksgiving that many North Americans adore. But feeling thankful is not exclusive to the US. Festivals of thanks abound throughout the globe, especially at harvest time.

China

Mid Autumn Festival China

The August Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, which is September or early October on the western calendar. This 1,000-year-old tradition celebrates the bounty of the summer harvest, the beauty of the full moon, and the moon’s connection to rejuvenation. Rather than pumpkin pie, millions of mooncakes, flaky, round, semi-sweet pastries, are shared by family and friends.

Germany

Erntedankfes

On the first Sunday in October, Germans celebrate Erntedankfest (Harvest of Thanks), replete with harvest queens, parades, and elaborate decorations composed of newly harvested fruits and vegetables. Rather than gathering with family, this day of thanks is church centered and culminates with unused food being given to those in need.

Ghana

Homowo Festival

Translated as “hooting at hunger,” the colorful Homowo festival in Ghana coincides with the planting of crops in May right before the rainy season starts. It commemorates the pre-colonial famine endured by the Ga people when they migrated to the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Celebrations entail processions of twins, traditional drumming and dancing, and a festival dish called Kpokpoi, steamed balls of fermented corn or yam flour.

India

Pongal Festival Southern India

Pongal, a 4-day harvest festival, is celebrated in Southern India on January 12 to January 15 to give thanks to nature and celebrate the life cycles that provide food and grain. On the festival’s second day, the most important, celebrants honor Surya, the sun god, by throwing their old clothes into a fire, having an oil massage, and then donning new duds. Cows, which are sacred in Hindu traditions, join the festivities too, enjoying a bath and a feast on pongal, rice boiled in milk.

Amazon

A variety of holidays are commemorated in the Amazon rainforest by the different indigenous nations, explains Fabian Lliquin, Rahua co-founder and a native of Ecuador. However, thanks is a daily celebration, marked by village BBQs and meals, and enjoying the rivers views while swinging on a hammock. BBQs in particular celebrate the cycle of life because to eat a piece of meat means that the animal was hunted, eaten fresh after the kill, and then preserved and cured for later consummation. Marriages too are big celebrations where everyone in the village comes together and starts a “minga” (community effort) to help the newly-weds build a house of their own in a few days (with zero mortgage).

Whichever tradition you celebrate at this time of year, the team at Amazon Beauty wishes you a bountiful season and a fabulous feast!