THANKSGIVING IN NEUSS
October 1 & November 23 2023
In Germany Saint Michael’s Day on September 29 marked the end of the harvest season. Thanksgiving, Erntedankfest, is celebrated in a special church service on the first Sunday of October. The style compares little with the American celebration on the fourth Thursday in November to commemorate the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving to God for the land and for a copious harvest.
Europe’s harvest celebrations hold a long tradition. They are great community affairs and many have their origin in pagan rituals. From early October, when fruit and grain produce could be harvested until late November, the time when winter began, people could use nature’s riches on the last warm days of the year to club together and to enjoy festivities. Through the centuries, villages all over Germany celebrated with festivals that included dances, parades, games, banquets and pageants.
Many regions gave their thanksgiving festival a special name. German wine producing areas celebrate a Winemaker’s Fest, Winzerfest, when all grapes are picked whereas Alpine regions tend to celebrate the reaping of grain. Nowadays these traditions have not survived in many villages and towns, certainly not in cities. Modern machinery accelerated the process of bringing in crops and removed the romantic aspect of harvesting as hard work.
Celebrations during the evening of American Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November in Germany tend to take place with foreign friends more than in restaurants.
By Vincent Green, Jan 3 2022
Happenings can vary from celebrations to mark an opening or anniversary to a market or a one off concert. The community is quick to pick up on such events, creating gatherings large and small.
Art venues and museums in and around Neuss regularly present selections of their fine pieces in well presented exhibitions. They often exhibit fascinating and rare works from across the globe with exhibitions of loaned works of art.
Head to the movies
English language movies are fortunately to be found in Neuss. Expats can view films from time to time in two cinemas. Screenings are occasionally in OV, original version or original with subtitles, OmU.