Thanksgiving Day as a statutory holiday in eight countries

The nations are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Switzerland and the United States.

Worldwide, the values and traditions of thanksgiving are found in every culture and religion. The Thanksgiving holiday celebrated each November in the United States is a cherished American tradition, but its roots go far back into human history, according to research conducted by The Center for World Thanksgiving at Thanks-Giving Square.Brazil

In prehistoric times, the first Americans observed rituals and ceremonies to express gratitude to a higher power for life itself. Throughout history, countries in Asia - - including Japan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka - - have hosted festivals in gratitude for each year's rice harvest. In Africa, many tribal expressions of gratitude are similar to this ancient prayer: "The year has come around again, great Lord of our land—never can we thank you for your good deeds and all your blessings."

Thanksgiving Day as a statutory holiday in eight countries


In South America, many of the native Indian cultures contain expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving, and in modern Brazil a special public day of thanksgiving and prayer has been designated for the fourth Thursday of November every year since 1949. In the British Isles and Europe, the harvest thanksgiving is observed in Protestant and Catholic churches with special altar decorations. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, land has been set aside to establish a Thanksgiving Square there.

When plans for the square in Belfast were announced, then Secretary of State Dr. Mo Mowlam said, "Northern Ireland has known much pain and suffering. Now we are at the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity. The creation of this place of thanksgiving is symbolic of a better tomorrow for us all."

The board of Belfast's Thanksgiving Square includes people of all faiths and cultures, but the patron is Myrtle Smyth, a woman intent on spreading the message that thanksgiving can heal. In 1999, Smyth attended the Thanksgiving World Assembly in Dallas, Texas, where leaders met to talk about capitalizing on the good things in life. That experience encouraged Smyth to continue her quest to establish a Thanksgiving Square in her native Belfast.


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