Photo: Elamaran Elaa Photography/Shutterstock

7 Harvest Festivals Around the World That Make Thanksgiving Look Boring

Photo: Elamaran Elaa Photography/Shutterstock
Allison Jackson
Nov 27, 2015


Millions of Americans are crisscrossing the country today to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

What started in 1621 as a feast between Pilgrims and Native Americans to celebrate a successful harvest has evolved into a manic, 24-hour holiday where people travel long distances to stuff themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, argue about politics with relatives, and then turn around and go home (or to the mall).

Maybe it’s time for American families to mix it up.

Here’s some inspiration: seven countries and peoples that are absolutely crushing this harvest festival game.

1. Thailand

Water buffalo racing is probably the highlight — for daredevil farmers, at least — of Thailand’s rice harvest celebrations in October. Jockeys ride their buffalos at break-neck speed along a dirt track during the annual event in Chonburi province.

2. Czech Republic

In the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic, people don’t just sit around a table toasting the summer harvest — they get out there and harvest the thing. In full costume, of course.

3. South Korea

Chuseok is South Korea’s equivalent of Thanksgiving. Celebrated over three days in September or October, the traditional harvest festival is a time when families get together, eat rice cakes, pay their respects to dead relatives and watch live wrestling matches. The best part, though, is dressing up in the traditional hanbok costume.

4. Tamils

Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated in January by Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and elsewhere. Hindu devotees throw out old clothes, paint their cows in bright colors and make offerings to the gods to thank them for a good harvest. The main tradition, though, is heating fresh milk in a clay pot outdoors and allowing it to boil over.

5. China

For many Chinese, mooncakes are the highlight of a mid-autumn harvest festival that takes place in September or early October. The traditional pastries contain a dense filling, often made from red bean or lotus seed paste and an egg. A replacement for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, maybe?

6. Argentina

The grape harvest in Mendoza, one of the most famous wine-making provinces in Argentina, used to look like this.

Now the locals celebrate the March harvest, or vendimia in Spanish, with a spectacular street parade, featuring “Grape Harvest Queens” from the various districts and a stage show in the capital city.

7. Vietnam

Vietnam’s mid-autumn festival, which also marks the end of the country’s harvest, is a time when children run around wearing these amazing papier-mâché and plastic masks, and get presents from relatives. Basically, it’s an epic mash-up of Christmas and Halloween.

by Allison Jackson, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost.

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