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Thanksgiving: What To Do In Greece If You’re Going To Celebrate – Guide 2023

    What is Thanksgiving and why do people celebrate it?

    Thanksgiving is known to Greeks mostly from movies. However, it is an established holiday throughout North America, and there are other countries and cultures with similar celebrations. It is a celebration of Thanksgiving when people give thanks to the Creator for their harvest.

    Where was Thanksgiving first celebrated?

    El Paso, Texas, is the city that claims to be the first place where this day was celebrated in the United States. In 1598, on April 30, the Spaniard Don Juan de Honiate and his exploring party held a Thanksgiving feast to rest his men.

    In the New World, it is most associated with the European settlers who felt the need to thank the Pilgrims for their safe arrival and stay in their new home. Specifically, in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

    Where was Thanksgiving first celebrated?

    In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November (between the 22nd and 28th) and has no particular connection to any religion.

    The holiday is also called Turkey Day because it marks the beginning of the holiday season for Americans until New Year’s Day. The “custom” also calls for all families to eat together on this day, with roast turkey as the main dish.

    In what other parts of the world is Thanksgiving celebrated?

    Thanksgiving is also celebrated in other countries around the world. 

    • In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the second Monday of October and is a national holiday in all provinces of the country. However, it is not celebrated in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
    • In the Australian territories of the Norfolk Islands, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday in November. The feast arrived there via American ships.
    • In the West African country of Liberia, a similar festival was established in 1820. The festival was started by black former slaves who were now free, returned to Africa, and brought the American custom with them.
    • In Germany, a festival associated with the annual harvest is held in early October. The Bavarian beer festival known as Oktoberfest is generally considered a similar holiday.

    When is Thanksgiving 2023 celebrated?

    Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November, which falls this year on November 23, 2023.

    Do the Greeks celebrate Thanksgiving?

    In Greece, people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but in ancient Greece, they celebrated “Thesmoforia”. The myth has it that when Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped the young girl Persephone, her mother Demeter could not feed the world and winter came over the land. Demeter was the goddess of harvest and agriculture. Persephone returned to the world every six months, in spring and summer. When Persephone returned, Demeter gave mankind the gift of agriculture.

    The holiday dedicated to Demeter was called “Thesmophoria.” The ancient Greeks celebrated Thesmophoria between the end of October and November. The festivities lasted three days and were celebrated throughout ancient Greece. Only women were allowed to participate in the sacred celebrations.

    Where can I have a Traditional American Thanksgiving dinner in Athens? [2023 Update]

    • St George Lycabettus Hotel: Enjoy your traditional All-American Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 23, 2023, at the hotel’s La Suite Lounge restaurant recently voted as” Best View in Europe!”

    • GB Roof Garden Restaurant: On Thursday, November 23, 2023, enjoy a feast and an exquisite festive menu at the GB Roof Garden Restaurant. Dinner: 6 PM – 1 AM

    • Hard Rock Café: Feast your eyes on their Thanksgiving Dinner because it’s almost Turkey Time. Reserve a table for Thursday, November 23, 2023 – you can check their Thanksgiving menu HERE

    How easy is it to make your own Thanksgiving dinner in Greece?

    In Greece, it’s common to cook a Thanksgiving meal from scratch yourself, since almost everything can be found in supermarkets or delis and there’s no need to import anything.

    Where can I find fresh Turkeys in Greece?

    One of the most respected brands of festive produce is American Farm School turkeys because they are organically raised and sold only fresh. 

    The turkeys were introduced to the Greek market by the school in the 1960s and are also available during Thanksgiving week in November and 2 weeks before Christmas. There is a store on campus in Thessaloniki and usually, turkeys are sold during the week of American Thanksgiving and two weeks before Christmas at selected locations close to Thessaloniki (AB Vasilopoulos, Butcher). 

    I am looking for ideas for a Greek Thanksgiving dinner. Where can I go for inspiration?

    We love the Greek celebrity chef, Akis Petretzikis. See below some of our favorite recipes where typical Thanksgiving ingredients are used.

    Brined roast turkey: This recipe is one of the fastest ways to prepare a turkey. Plus, you get crispy skin and perfectly cooked, juicy breasts. Serve with spicy bread stuffing, a creamy bread sauce, and a fantastic homemade cranberry sauce!

    Sweet Pumpkin Pie: Because a pie should never be missing from the table, this sweet pumpkin pie with phyllo is incredible. It’s super healthy with a slightly sweet taste and perfect for your festive dinner with your family.

    Cranberry-based recipes: Cranberries are one of the most festive ingredients to grace your table… and your palate. Try any of the recipes for a dessert or salad.

    Gravy Sauce: Thanksgiving dinner always needs gravy to dress up your amazing kid-friendly creations.

    Mashed Potatoes: In Greece, we love mashed potatoes! This is the perfect side dish that all kids love with turkey and you can make it in no time.

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