The Hamar diocese of the Norwegian state church has formed a committee to work towards creation of a national holiday similar to “Thanksgiving” in the US. The idea is to celebrate the bounty of the annual harvest in Norwegian schools, the church and homes.
They’re calling it a høsttakkefest (literally an “autumn thank-you celebration”), and local newspaper Hadeland reported last week that a special evening meeting on the theme was being held at the Nes church in Røykenvik, on the shores of the Randsfjord.
The diocese invited schools, day care centers, local congregrations, various associations and anyone else interested in creation of the new national holiday, to be celebrated on the second-to-last Sunday of September in Norwegian churches.
The US Thanksgiving springs from legends about the pilgrims from England who gave thanks for surviving their first difficult winters in North America after arriving at Plymouth Rock in the 1600. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the US and is not directly tied to any religion, which is what leads to its celebration and traditional turkey dinners among Americans of all faiths. It also doesn’t involve gift-giving and is largely non-commercial, best known as simply a day when folks gather for the traditional menu and sheer companionship.