Predominantly recognized in the U.S. and Canada, Thanksgiving is a warmhearted holiday that commemorates gratitude, tradition, family, and culture. But festivals for giving thanks have taken place throughout history in countries all over the world.
In ancient Greece, it is believed that the underworld god Hades abducted a young maiden, Persephone. In anger, Persephone’s mother Demeter refused to feed the world, casting a harsh winter upon the land. When Persephone returned, Demeter was overjoyed and gave the gift of agriculture to mankind. The Greeks honored Demeter with offerings and ceremonies, believing that she would provide a bountiful harvest each year. The holiday was called Thesmophoria and was held in the fall during October and November.
Today, Greeks in the U.S. and Canada continue to celebrate Thesmophoria as well as the traditional North American Thanksgiving by adding their own cultural twists. By the way, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, whereas the United States celebrates on the fourth Thursday of November.