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World | Nov 24, 2022

Countries that celebrate Thanksgiving in the Caribbean

Mikala Johnson

Mikala Johnson / Our Today

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This is what a traditional American Thanksgiving meal looks like.

Base on popular culture, many individuals may see Thanksgiving as a predominantly American celebration.

Some individuals probably have the wrong idea that this popular holiday is an all-American holiday, especially if they live in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

That’s perfectly understandable. After all, not long from now your phone will be filled with images of family and friends in the US celebrating the holiday.

The picture-perfect family get together for Thanksgiving.

Also, each year around this time, you see at least one movie scene that features a joyful family enjoying a bountiful dinner made of stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes and, of course, cranberry sauce. You can’t forget the cranberry sauce!

But what about the sunny islands of the Caribbean? Do any of the islands celebrate Thanksgiving?

The short answer is yes, people do celebrate Thanksgiving in the Caribbean but not necessarily in the way people in the United States would.

This is how the Islands do Thanksgiving, bon appetit!

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in different countries around the world (not necessarily on the same date). 

Thanksgiving celebrations in the US are a time where Americans come together to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

Celebrating gratitude and giving thanks is quite universal. Let’s bring it closer to home and look at a few countries in the Caribbean that celebrate the holiday.

Thanksgiving meal Puerto Rican style.

Puerto Rico

This US territory shares plenty of similarities with the mainland United States. That includes many holidays, like Thanksgiving.

Firstly, they celebrate it on the same day (fourth Thursday in November) and embrace the same Black Friday shopping culture on the following day.

The national flag of Puerto Rico.

However, Puerto Ricans have put their own twist on the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast.

A Puerto Rican Thanksgiving usually consists of turkey, whether a roasted, seasoned pavochón or a turkey stuffed with mofongo (a mashed plantain dish).

Roast pork is also a common item on the menu, accompanied with more plantains, rice and beans.

St Lucia

This Caribbean Island has its own version of Thanksgiving, held on the first Monday of October.

The national flag of St Lucia.

It is a celebration stemming from the harvest festivals of the original inhabitants of the Caribbean, the Caribs.

Thanksgiving Day is observed has a public holiday in Saint Lucia, the holiday is a harvest festival to give thanks for the bounty from the island.

 St Lucians usually celebrate the holiday with a family dinner.

Thanksgiving meal, with a Caribbean flavour.

Grenada

The Caribbean Island of Grenada also celebrates Thanksgiving. However, the date and significance behind the holiday is much different than the American version.

On October 25th, the country celebrates the anniversary of the 1983 Caribbean and American military intervention.

Grenada’s National Flag.

This was an important moment in Grenada’s history, since it led to the restoration of democratic rule in the country; after Grenada’s deputy prime minister executed the prime minister and seized the power.

Only nine days later, the United States military came to the rescue and restored order in a matter of weeks.

As a result, on Thanksgiving, Grenadians give thanks for the American-led invasion that helped them take back their country.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25 in Grenada.

On this public holiday, most banks, businesses, and shops close. Many people attend church services or simply spend a relaxing day with family or friends.

In addition, the holiday is marked by formal ceremonies and events to remember those who gave their lives during the conflict of 1983.

In the Caribbean spending Thanksgiving at the beach isn’t so farfetched.

The US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands (USVI) celebrate the same public holidays as the United States, including Thanksgiving.

In addition, the USVI government has added some local celebrations to the holiday.

Many restaurants offer traditional Thanksgiving foods like turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.

However, you can swap those for more ‘Caribbean’ options like rum-glazed ham, salmon, or lobster bisque.

The Thanksgiving Regatta is an annual event that takes place in the US Virgin Island.

In addition, there is the annual Thanksgiving Regatta, an annual boat race in Coral Bay, St. John. Where individuals can participate with any class of boat, or watch from the shore!

A second day of Thanksgiving takes place on October 25 as well. Titled ‘Hurricane Thanksgiving’, the holiday is a day to give thanks for protection from hurricanes.

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