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Every year, across the globe, across nations, countries and cultures, people of the world celebrate over 1000 different festivals. For Indians it is Diwali, for Chinese it is Chinese New Year, for Arabs it is Eid-Al-Fitr and for Americans and Canadians it is Christmas and Thanksgiving. This month, as the busiest weeks of our semester come to an end and the weather in Hong Kong becomes cooler to relieve our stress, some of our exchange students look forward to the Thanksgiving Day that will fall on 26 November this year.


My own first exposure to this celebrated holiday was limited to pictures of Thanksgiving parades and a comedy episode from the hit television series 'Friends'. But after talking to a few exchange and international students at the Student Residence, I was enlightened to learn that whilst Americans celebrate this day on the last Thursday of November, Canadians celebrate it on the second Monday of October.  It is also an occasion to express gratitude for the end of the harvest season and at the end of the day, it bares similar characteristics to special days celebrated across the globe.

Being a non-local student at CityU, I remember being astounded at the rush of people travelling back to their home towns during the week of Chinese New Year. However, American and Canadians also follow this same routine before the arrival of this holiday. For the week leading up to Thanksgiving, many people plan ahead so they can be together with their families and friends on this special day.

Even the Thanksgiving meals are specially prepared to match the festive season. Regardless of the choice of the household, there is almost always a specially cooked Turkey, sweet potatoes, apple pies, yams and other delicious dishes that follow and carry on the tradition. Distance may limit our American and Canadian exchange students from celebrating this unique occasion with their families this year and many of us would empathize with the sacrifice of missing such an important day of the year. But you never know, maybe some of us will take this opportunity to relieve those who are homesick, learn more about this tradition and take part in the celebrations too?

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