Young World

Thanksgiving for the season

January is a time for celebration. This is the time of the year when we, in India, celebrate the harvest. But did you know that all over the world, people rejoice when the yield of the field is brought in?

Come January and it’s time for the harvest festival in many parts of India known by different names: Pongal in Tamil Nadu; Lohri in Punjab; Bhogali Bihu in Assam; Makar Sankranti in regions like Chattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and others. Of course, the U.S. has Thanksgiving. But wouldn’t you like to know how other countries celebrate their harvest festivals? Let’s take a look.

Samhain, which means ‘end of summer’, originated in Celtic or Gaelic tradition. Bonfires are a symbol of the new harvest year and of the cycle of death and rebirth. Another feature of Samhain was carved pumpkins; so you won’t be surprised to learn that this pagan festival is the forerunner of Halloween. This is usually held in the end of October.

Festival of Yams is a sign that the rainy season has come to an end in Ghana and Nigeria. The festival — also known as ‘Homowo’ or ‘Hoot at Hunger’ — is usually held in the beginning of August. Gods are offered yams and celebrations include parades, drummers, dancing and singing. A traditional dish called Fufu made of what else but yams is a must at this festival.

Rice and olives

Niiname-sai means ‘celebrate the first taste’ and is a Japanese rice festival held on November 23. After World War II, it is also called Labour Thanksgiving Day. The ceremony includes the Emperor offering some of the harvest to the spirits and having the first taste of the rice as he prays for a good crop the next year.

Olivagando is held in November in Magione, Italy, just as the olive season comes to an end. While the festival celebrates olive oil, the festival also features wines, fruits, cheeses, meats and truffles ... all from the region. On the Mass on St. Clement’s Feast Day, where the priests bless the new oil, the evening sees a massive medieval feast at the Castle of the Knights of Malta. The recipes date back to 1150 AD when the castle was first built.

La Festa dell’Uva is the local name for the Chianti grape harvest festival. Held on the last Sunday of September in the Italian city of Impruneta, Florence, the festival features over 800 local wines, music and dancing and regional delicacies. Floats representing the grape and its importance in the region are a major feature of this festival.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 8:02:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/Thanksgiving-for-the-season/article13986466.ece

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