Students from 19 different countries around the world attend Seton Hill University. So that brings up the question, how does another country celebrate Thanksgiving, if they celebrate it at all?
The countries SHU has international students from are Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea (the Republic of), Norway, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Virgin Islands.
Henrik Berg is a freshman sports management major from Sweden. In his country, there isn’t a Thanksgiving celebration or an equivalent holiday. Even though he has not yet experienced Thanksgiving here in America, he is looking forward to it.
Curtis Gallagher is a senior biochemistry major from the United Kingdom. Over there, they also do not celebrate Thanksgiving; everyone goes about their day like it is a normal Thursday in November.
He said that the only resemblance to a Thanksgiving dinner that they have is at Christmas time where the whole family meets up and eats a lot of food, drinks a lot of alcohol and has a good time.
Gallagher said that he has been fortunate enough to spend his last three Thanksgivings in Chicago, Florida and Michigan. He said he has loved every single one equally and likes how the holiday is relaxed but also has an overabundance of food.
Daneiris Mejias is a freshman biology major who is originally from Puerto Rico, but now lives here in the United States. When she lived in Puerto Rico, her school had a Thanksgiving tradition called the “Turkey Race.” Students would compete by running a lap around the school and whoever came in first place won a turkey to take home.
She remembers running the race and never winning, but her brother constantly won and brought home a turkey. She said her mom would prepare the turkey for a traditional Thanksgiving meal that took place at her grandma’s house.
Mejias has been able to experience Thanksgiving here in America because her and her mother moved here and shortly after, her mother remarried. Every Thanksgiving they drive from Orlando, Fla. to a state park in Alabama where they camp in the woods for a week. On Thanksgiving they make a bonfire, eat turkey and share what they are thankful for.
Although most countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving, there are some countries around the world that celebrate something similar to American Thanksgiving or they have their own holiday where they are grateful for things that have happened to them.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, they do not actually celebrate Thanksgiving, but many of the residents there have taken to the American tradition. They stick to a traditional American meal with turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. For those who don’t celebrate, they still enjoy the day off from work.
In Brazil, they celebrate Dia de Ação de Graças on the last Thursday of November. They first go to church to give thanks for the fall harvest and they end with an autumn carnival. They have a meal similar to Americans, but they replace cranberry sauce with jabuticaba sauce.
Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October. The meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing is served the weekend before. This is done so that the meal is not on a Monday because they spend two full days eating.
A SHU Program called Friendship Families gives international students on campus the opportunity to experience Thanksgiving in America. For more information, contact Keisha Jimmerson, director of multicultural and international services.