An Austrian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. No, it IS my favourite holiday. It goes without saying that I was feeling a little homesick in early October when Thanksgiving rolled around. This was the first time I missed out on Thanksgiving dinner at the cottage with my family. However, Andrew (my American friend) and myself, decided to bring Thanksgiving to Graz. And did we bring it (with some minor adjustments: no whole turkey or sweet potatoes in Austria, apparently). After more than 8 hours of grocery shopping/cooking, we feasted. It was a very special experience: a Canadian, an American, a Mexican, an Austrian, a German, a Belgian, and a Kosovar, celebrating Thanksgiving together–the first Thanksgiving for many. It was very interesting for me to reflect on the traditions I have and why they are important to me. It was especially fun to explain what a “typical” Thanksgiving consists of! One of the best parts, and probably one of the more unexpected parts, is how much the experience makes you reflect on your own culture and identity, and how others perceive you. One of the highlights of the evening was a discussion about the different (and yet similar) traditions we all share. While some things surprised me (the Germans/Austrians DON’T have Santa Claus!! At least, their equivalent is nothing like the North American Santa), it was really cool to realize that our different traditions are unified by the common values of food, family, ¬†and friendship.

Soon-to-be cranberry sauce

The gang.




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About Emily

Hi! I'm Emily, a second year Masters student at the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian studies. Check out my blog to read about my semester at the University Graz, all things Austrian, and the daily challenges of being lost in translation.

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