One of the most frequently asked questions I get at this time of year is (or has been), “how does Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?” The simple answer is that we don’t. As Wikipedia explains,
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a traditional North American holiday to give thanks for the things that one has at the conclusion of the harvest season. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.
This has got me thinking though. Does Australia have anything like Thanksgiving as an alternate holiday or celebration? Given that both the USA and Australia share only a small part of the same history (British beginnings), the similarities (at least until recent years) have been quite small, and the intial interactions with the indigenous Australians was quite different to the one experienced initially in the USA.
It’s important to note that while settlement and colonization of both countries was done by the British, the reasons for finding these new homes were very different, and provide a sound reason for explaining why the USA and Australia are vastly different on many issues. In the case of the USA, colonizers were escaping religious persecution from the British. In the case of Australia, the British needed a place to ship prisoners of the Crown. (This is an overly simplistic view of the history, but the detail is not important for this blog post.)
So after spending a little time thinking about this, and doing a small amount of research on the Internets, I confirmed what I had originally throught. Australia has no similar holiday to the North American Thanksgiving Holiday. (Interesting, no?)