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Families dress in pilgrim costumes for the annual Thanksgiving ceremony in Pieterskerk Leiden Copyright: Pieterskerk

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

Thanksgiving is an American celebration. So why would you celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands? Today we travel back and forth in time in search of the roots of the harvest festival and discover thé place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

John and the Leiden Pilgrims

This is the 11th time John and his family assist the 3 October service in the Peter’s Church in Leiden. As religious refugees from England they came to the city of Leiden in 1609. With the clash between two Protestant parties Leiden is not the safe harbor it was when they arrived here. Soon they will undertake the journey to America with 35 pilgrims in total. From Delfshaven, Rotterdam they’ll sail to Plymouth on the Speedwell. The Mayflower is right by there side. On their way to New England, they’ll find out the Speedwell is unfit for a long voyage. All Leiden Pilgrims will have to transfer unto the already packed Mayflower to sail on to new colonies of Massachusetts.

3 October – Relief of Leiden- celebration in Pieterskerk Leiden

Dutch Touch to Thanksgiving

During their stay in the Netherlands John and the Leiden Pilgrims had enjoyed the celebration of the Relief of Leiden on the 3rd of October in the Peter’s Church – Pieterskerk-. The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots in the English culture. It combines aspects of a harvest festival with the special thanksgiving religious services. John and the Leiden Pilgrims added a Dutch touch to the Thanksgiving celebration. They had especially appreciated the thanksgiving service in the Pieterskerk and the meal afterwards. They translated some of the songs heard during the Dutch service for their own celebration and ended with a common Thanksgiving meal.

Thé Place to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

The Pieterskerk still is thé place where many come together to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. In this church John Robinson, one of the main Pilgrim Fathers, is buried. Every year, on the 4th Thursday of November there is a Thanksgiving Day service. In 2017, the thankgiving service will take place on the 23th November and starts at 11 AM.


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Sources used for this article:


Wikipedia Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Nederlandse erfenis








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