Updated: February 7, 2023Published: September 23, 2022
If you are thinking about spending Thanksgiving in Spain and celebrating it the American way, forget about it… But wait for a second because other European countries celebrate it with a “little” twist.
Spain usually embraces many American traditions, but it differs from the Thanksgiving celebration.
I also wanted to share some of the best Spanish recipes you could add to your next Thanksgiving meal to surprise your family.
Get ready and open your eyes so you don’t miss details about how we spent Thanksgiving in Spain.
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1. Do Spaniards celebrate Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Spain.
However, it’s one of the most important traditional holidays in the US. Although we have hosted other celebrations, such as Halloween, we have not done the same with Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of Christian origin and is known worldwide. The 4ht Thursday of November, American families get together to give thanks for all the good things that have happened during the year while enjoying a great feast.
As we usually see in American movies, the turkey is the main protagonist, and we cannot forget its spectacular parades in different cities across the country.
2. Thanksgiving in Spain: What to Expect
Although for Americans, it’s a public holiday where they don’t have to work, for Spaniards, it’s still a normal day. So yep, we have to go to work.
If you were curious about the one thing we, Spaniards, LOVE, you should know that while American families enjoy a great family dinner, Spaniards cannot stop thinking about the famous Black Friday. This American tradition has become a beloved tradition throughout Spain.
On that day, we, Spanish people, go crazy and want to buy everything because everything is on sale in almost every store. You’ll see prices you’ve never seen before!
So if you want to know everything about how Black Friday is lived in Spain you cannot miss our article:
This is what surpises me the most. We have embraced Halloween and Blackfriday as a part of our culture. Both are mainly focused on consuming; yet we have not wanted to adopt the tradition of Thanksgiving, as this a celebration to spend quality time with the family and that’s not consumerist at all.
We, Spaniards, always look for any occasion to get together, and food is our strong point.
Do you think Thanksgiving will be the next American holiday that Spain will want to add to its repertoire?
Stuart, 32, from Washington DC but living in Madrid, wants to share with us his first Thanksgiving in Spain:
“The first year I spent Thanksgiving in Spain was weird, as I imagined something similar to how I celebrated it at home. It wasn’t what I expected, and I was a little sad.
However, I decided to get my Spanish, American, and other friends together the following year. And let me tell you, it was incredible! Each of us brought a typical dish from their country, and we shared everything.
Ultimately, the goal is to get together with the people you love.
As an American living in Spain, I know how hard it is to find your cravings, so TRUST me and check “Taste of America.”
3. A different touch into your next Thanksgiving meal
Although classic dishes like turkey and pie are always present in the American Thanksgiving dinner, every family has its own tastes and customs.
So, how about cooking something different this year? You can bet on adding new ingredients and recipes to your list. So it’s time to go a little off the beaten path with something new that everyone will love!
I think a few Spanish recipes would be a perfect choice! This way, you and your family can enjoy a mix of flavors typical of the Mediterranean diet, well-known and acclaimed worldwide.
Among my favorite Spanish recipes to cook on Thanksgiving are the braised octopus leg with truffled mashed potatoes, the Spanish stuffing with bacon, fried eggs, and grapes, the honey-roasted short ribs, and the rice pudding with mango ice cream as dessert.
But my all-time favorite is my mum’s cheesecake, which is OUT of this world… If you want the recipe, let me know, and I’ll send you the steps and ingredients so you can enjoy it too!
All these meals can be accompanied by good wine, the most suitable one depending on your favorite dish.
Don’t worry; you won’t have any problem finding good wines in Spain!
I can assure you that these Spanish recipes have nothing to envy the American ones.
4. How do other European countries celebrate Thanksgiving
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, some European countries celebrate Thanksgiving with a different touch.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland celebrate this holiday to thank the year’s harvest serving to feed the city during the hard winter months.
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland celebrate the autumn harvests, which take place in early October. In Germany, they call this event “Erntedankfest.” “Erntedankfest” means “thanks for the harvest fest” and is celebrated by Catholics and Protestants.
These three European countries celebrate Thanksgiving in different ways. Instead of being a family gathering as Americans do, it is more of a public celebration with some musical performances, people dancing, some fireworks, and OFC food.
Some people attend religious processions, and churches are often decorated with autumnal details.
In the case of the Netherlands, not the whole country celebrates Thanksgiving, only a city called Leiden. The most curious thing is that their way of celebrating this holiday is totally linked to the one of the US.
The United Kingdom DOES celebrate Thanksgiving. Like the German Erntedankfest, it also celebrates the harvest in late September or early October. You can also see some parades, some typical food, and churches decorated beautifully.
Indeed, we Spaniards don’t celebrate Thanksgiving like Americans do, but we are always willing to get together. So it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s all about having a good time surrounded by people you love and even better when there’s food!
Jimena Bolívar is a seasoned travel writer with a unique passion for Spanish Food & Recipes. With a background in business and marketing, she brings a strategic and innovative approach to her writing, making her the perfect guide for those looking to truly experience the Authentic Spain. Jimena is also a Mother of 4, and is a huge fan of knitting her own clothes.