The Lectern: Thanksgiving greetings from mainland China and Taiwan
As American readers probably know, Thanksgiving is celebrated only in the U.S. (and, in October, in Canada). It is certainly not celebrated traditionally in China. However, to my surprise, my Facebook account has been active with Thanksgiving-related traffic and greetings coming from mainland China and Taiwan. Several of my Chinese and Taiwanese Facebook friends have sent greetings on my wall or private Facebook messages sending me Thanksgiving greetings. Furthermore, a student who is a senior at Beijing University wrote a status update stating that she was planning to attend a Thanksgiving party in Beijing, presumably with other Chinese. Another Taiwanese, a former Kennedy School student now Hong Kong-based, sent a status update saying he "wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving." The one comment on the update was written in Chinese!
I wrote some of the young people sending me these greetings queries asking them how they even knew about Thanksgiving. The response was that they learned about it when they studied about American history and culture in U.S. history or English language courses.
I have been fascinated by this as an example of America's continuing cultural presence in the world.
Happy post-Thanksgiving greetings to American (and Chinese/Taiwanese!) readers.
Posted by Steve Kelman on Nov 28, 2008 at 12:10 PM