Here in the United States, we’re just about to begin our Thanksgiving Celebration – a time for food, family, and friends to come together and be grateful for all that we have! Around the world, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated, so we wanted to share with our followers just a few fall traditions from across the globe.
The Pushkar Fair (or Pushkar Camel Fair) occurs in November in Rajasthan, India. As the name suggests, you’ll be able to find a camel race, livestock auctions, as well as many other vendors there to sell and trade goods. There are even fun activities like a “Longest Mustache” competition! The fair lasts for five days and is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar.
The Tihar Festival is a fall tradition many Americans would love to attend…it’s a celebration of man’s best friend – dogs and other animals like crows and cows who share a relationship with humans. Diyas, or oil lamps, illuminate the cities and houses at night. Day two of the festival is focused on the relationship between humans and dogs while the final day of the festival celebrates siblings and the bond of family.
Entenrennen (The Duck Race) happens in countries from Germany to England to France and is exactly what it sounds like! From August to late October, countries host duck races in public rivers that can include anywhere from 800 to 80,000 ducks! The largest duck race was in 2008 on the River Thames in London, which saw 250,000 ducks on the river at once. Organizers make a strong effort to make sure all ducks are safely removed at the end of the race, and “winners” can earn a prize for their duck coming in first.
Nine Emperor Gods Festival (The Vegetarian Festival) is a festival held in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar in the fall and involves a ritual of 9 days abstaining from eating meat. It is believed that the abstinence from meat can bring humans closer to divinity, and during this time there are feats of daring performed as a way to invite the gods, including fire-walking and climbing ladders made with blades.
These are just snapshots of the fall traditions other countries may practice – just as every family here in the United States has Thanksgiving differently, so every family in another country will practice their own culture and heritage differently! An amazing way to learn just a little bit about another culture is through student exchange, and we’re thrilled to have so many families as a part of that journey.