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Thanksgiving Celebration in the Netherlands: A Fusion of Gratitude and Tradition

Thanksgiving Celebration in Holland

Thanksgiving Celebrations by Dutch

Thanksgiving is not traditionally celebrated in the Netherlands as it is in North America. However, there is a growing expatriate community, particularly consisting of Americans and Canadians, who do celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. Here's how Thanksgiving is celebrated within this expat community:

Private Gatherings: Expatriates and their families often celebrate Thanksgiving in the comfort of their own homes. They gather with friends, family, and fellow expats for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner: The centerpiece of the celebration is the Thanksgiving meal, which typically includes a roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and various side dishes. Families may incorporate other traditional dishes like pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole.

Finding Ingredients: Expats may need to search for specific ingredients for their Thanksgiving meal, as some traditional items may not be readily available in Dutch grocery stores. Specialized international markets or online stores may be a source for these ingredients.

Community Events: Some cities with a significant expat population may organize community Thanksgiving events. These events offer an opportunity for expatriates to come together, share a meal, and celebrate the holiday as a community.

Harvest Festivities: While not a Dutch tradition, the beauty of the Dutch countryside during the fall season provides an opportunity for outdoor activities like hiking, apple picking, and enjoying the vibrant autumn colors.

Cultural Exchange: Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Netherlands can lead to a cultural exchange. Dutch friends and colleagues may be curious about the holiday, and some may join in the celebrations to learn more about American and Canadian culture.

Expressions of Gratitude: Like in North America, the essence of Thanksgiving is expressing gratitude. Expats often take a moment to reflect on the things they are thankful for, whether it's the support of their local community, the opportunity to live in the Netherlands, or the beauty of the Dutch landscapes.

Charitable Acts: In the spirit of Thanksgiving, some expatriate communities may also organize charitable activities to give back to their local Dutch communities. This can include food drives, volunteering, or fundraising for charitable causes.

Educational Initiatives: Some international schools in the Netherlands may incorporate Thanksgiving into their curricula, teaching local and expat students about the history and significance of the holiday.

While Thanksgiving is not a Dutch tradition, the expatriate community in the Netherlands has created a unique and heartfelt way to celebrate this holiday, emphasizing the values of family, gratitude, and cultural exchange. It serves as a reminder that even far from home, the spirit of Thanksgiving can thrive and be shared with those from different backgrounds.

Dutch harvest hymns helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service. Dutch Catholics celebrate the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours or Martinmas which held on November 11.During this harvest festival, the feast was held to honor the Hungarian saint .The Hungarian Saint used to hide in a barn after hearing that he has been appointed a bishop as they believed that they didnot earn such an honour. A honking goose was to reveal his hiding place and so roast goose became a traditional dish for Martinmas feast, along with wine made from the grape harvest.

Also During this festival we can see children marching in parades carrying homemade lanterns following the Halloween tradition.


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