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Thanksgiving greetings from Norway

In Europe, including Norway, Thanksgiving in various traditional forms has long roots and can not be seen as an American tradition, we try to copy. Actually “Thanksgiving” has been celebrated at all times throughout the world. Even the ancient Greeks had their “Thanksgiving”, where they celebrated the fertility goddess Demeter. The Romans celebrated the corn crop and the goddess Ceres. In Norway in the old days was Michaelmas (29 September) – which was both a harvest festival and celebration of the Archangel Michael – a very important festival in our country. Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated in the northern hemisphere with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. Michael is the greatest of all the archangels and is honoured for his defeat of Lucifer in the battle for the heavens in the Bible.

Nowadays Thanksgiving is rarely celebrated in Norway or elsewhere in Scandinavia. However, I’m fortunate to be married to an American, so today we had our turkey:

Thanksgiving Turkey from RennyBA

This has given me the chance to get a better insight of what Thanksgiving is all about and how important it is to North Americans. I love to learn about other countries culture and traditions and of course, since it’s also related to European and Norway’s history from the 1800s I’ve been digging into the history and found this:

In the US:
In relation to Norway which is a country with a small number of immigrants, North America is where European immigrants flocked to. The Thanksgiving story is mainly based on the English pilgrims, the Mayflower ship, which sailed from England in the early 1600s, in search of the Promised Land. When they finally arrived at Plymouth Rock, located in the USA’s east coast in the state of Massachusetts, the trip had taken much longer than planned. The late arrival meant that they had not cultivated the earth, as the ensuing winter resulted in many who died of starvation. When spring came, they were aided by local Indians to plant the earth and set up simple houses. Then in late November 1621, the English settlers and American Indians celebrated the harvest which would mean food and shelter for the coming winter.

In Canada:
I’m fully aware of the history of Thanksgiving Day in Canada too (the second Monday in October) and that it goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. However Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.

So to all friends and family over there – and I know a lot of you have anchors in Norway or other places in Scandinavia too: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

You’re welcome to read DianeCA, my wife’s post from today and what she is thankful for!

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  1. Perhaps someday you and Diane will come to our home for Thanksgiving. We had a nice one with far too much food! So there was plenty for you to have come!

  2. Interesting post. I’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving, in Greece or in the UK (although I can’t speak for the ancestors hehe). I hope you had a great time, with lovely food and good company.

  3. One major difference is that the make up is more akin to the American system than the British. There is an executive made up of the Prime minister and Government Ministers (regjering).

  4. The UK could learn a lot from Norway. Take North Sea Oil as an example. Norway set up a state fund (the state pension fund) and returns income from the oil to that, investing it outside of Norway to prevent overheating the economy.

  5. Yes, we canucks also celebrate Thanksgiving, and, indeed, we have much to be thankful for in this nation of ours. Too bad the Michealmas has fallen out of practice in Norway. If the roots of thanksgiving in Norway are connected with the harvest festival, that may also well go back to Old Testament times, and the Jewish harvest festival. At any rate, I wish you and your wife a blessed Thanksgiving!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Diane too, Renny! Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. Of course were all the (Norwegian!) husbands of American Ladies also included in my greetings…*smile*…

    The food looks good… we made it here very simple: shrimps and rice…LOL…


  7. You know more about Canadian Thanksgiving than I do! I’m usually too busy to eat to worry about history :lol:

    This celebration is quite unknown in France and I can’t think of anything similar. Maybe the vendange, the wine harvest?

  8. I just caught up reading all the posts I missed while I was away – I spent some interesting time looking at your nice pictures and, as usual, learning something new. I did not know the origin of the Canadian Thanksgiving and had never read about it before. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments.

  9. Looks like a lovely meal. Love the history you wrote about too! I think we will be trying that over Christmas when we have more time and a day off of work to enjoy it all!

  10. Hi, I found your blog on The Best Post Of The Week site and thought I’d drop by to say hello. A great post, it was interesting to learn yet more about Thanksgiving. We don’t celebrate it here in the UK but, having lots of Americans visiting my blog, I felt compelled to learn more. Nice to meet you.

  11. i am so glad you enjoy sharing this holiday with diane. having lived abroad i know what it is to be far away from home during thanksgiving and have people willing to celebrate it with you. i also have to say some of the most special thanksgiving moments have been shared with friends in and from other countries. pausing to consider what we’ve been blessed with seems to be a thing everyone can do.

  12. If you live in USA, you can see that more people is speaking spanish and that’s good because now our country is developing in foreign languages and one person who speaks and/or understand 2 languages counts as 2 persons……well about the weather…

  13. That is really neat that even though you are in Norway you still celebrate Thanksgiving. The food looks so yummy, wish I was there.

    Love and Blessings,

  14. Even if we are far from each other, It’s never late to wish “Happy Thanksgiving to all of you Norwegian people….
    Khim and family, Nepal

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