Traditional Thanksgiving Feast in Different Countries

Thanksgiving is more than just an American holiday. It is also a long tradition of harvest-time celebrations across the globe, commemorating a great year and harvest. Since food is always the highlight of this festival, here’s the Thanksgiving menu that you can expect to see in different countries.

Historical Menu for Thanksgiving

It is believed that the first Thanksgiving feast (between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag in 1621) contained fish, lobsters, waterfowl, fruits, pumpkin, clams, berries and squash.

Main Dish

  • Turkey is the most common dish in countries like UK, USA and Canada. Roasted turkeys are served as the centerpiece with stuffing of a bread-based mixture or sausages, bacon, raisins, apples and cranberries.
  • In many countries, ham is served alongside turkey. Sometimes, goose and ducks are also served in place of turkey.
  • In some villages of Alaska, people have whale meat as the main dish.
  • Irish people are known to have prime rib of beef as the centerpiece for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Side Dishes

There are various offerings served alongside the main dish. The dishes vary, depending on which country you are in. Some of the common side dishes are:

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy, winter squash and green beans casserole for the Americans
  • Biscuits, cornbread and bread rolls for people living in South and New England
  • Sauerkraut in Baltimore
  • Collard greens, sweet potato pies and macaroni and cheese for African Americans and roasted pork and rice with black beans for Cuban Americans
  • Puerto Ricans serve arroz con grandules (rice with pigeon peas), pasteles (root tamales) with turkey stuffing, potato salad and corn bread with longaniza


  • In many countries, you can expect to see pies at the table for Thanksgiving desserts. From pumpkin pies and sweet potato pies to pecan pies and mincemeat pies, there is a wide variety served across the globe.
  • Ashkenazi Jews serve noodle kugel, a sweet dessert pudding whereas Puerto Ricans serve pumpkin-coconut crème caramel.
  • In China, the menu for Thanksgiving includes mooncakes, sweet cakes filled with sesame seeds, duck eggs and ground lotus seeds.

Interesting Facts

  • Romans used to celebrate Thanksgiving by honoring Ceres, the goddess of corn. Their celebration included parades, music, games and a lavish feast as they were thankful for the good harvest all year round.
  • In ancient Greece, a three-day festival was enjoyed every autumn, honoring Demeter, the goddess of grains and corn.
  • In Canada, Thanksgiving Day (Jour de I’Action de Grace) is celebrated with a huge feast with friends and family.
  • In Brazil, the seasonal celebration to express gratitude to the gods for a good harvest became Dia de Ao de Graas (day of Thanksgiving) in 1949 when the ambassador of Brazil got inspired by Thanksgiving celebrations on his visit to the USA.

What are you thankful for?

This is how Thanksgiving week is celebrated around the world. Do share with us how it is celebrated in your country and what you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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