How Do You Say Happy Thanksgiving in German

How Do You Say ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ in German? Answered

Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Have you ever pondered on ways to share the spirit of Thanksgiving in a different language?

A few years ago, I had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my German friends, and I wanted to share my warm holiday wishes with them. 

I learned to say it in their language, making the day even more special. So, how do you say Happy Thanksgiving in German? Now, I’ll share it with you, and let’s say it together. 

How Can You Say “Happy Thanksgiving” In German?

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To wish someone a “Happy Thanksgiving” in German, you can say “Frohe Erntedankfest!” (pronounced: FROH-uh airn-tuh-DAHNK-fehst). 

It’s like a special phrase that means “happy harvest festival.” 

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are.”

Joyce Giraud, Puerto Rican Actress and Model

This way, when you’re talking to German-speaking friends or visiting Germany, you can share the good vibes of Thanksgiving with them. 

It’s a cool way to connect with people from different places and show them the warm feelings of the holiday. But how will you say Happy Thanksgiving in Spanish?

Is Thanksgiving Celebrated In Germany?

Yes, Germany has its kind of Thanksgiving called “Erntedankfest.” It’s different from the American Thanksgiving you might be familiar with. 

In Germany, Erntedankfest is more of a rural thing. People in the countryside get together for big parties with lots of food and fun. 

They celebrate the harvest season and thank nature for its bounty. But in bigger cities and less rural areas, churches, like the Protestant and Catholic ones, often organize Erntedankfest. 

They focus on thanking God for the harvest. 

What Is So Unique About The German Thanksgiving?

German Thanksgiving is unique because it’s all about two things: religion and community. 

Unlike American Thanksgiving, which is mostly about eating with family, Erntedankfest focuses on thanking God for the harvest. People go to church for special services. 

But what’s cool is how everyone comes together in the countryside. They have big fairs and town gatherings where neighbors meet, share food, and enjoy each other’s company. 

It’s like a big, thankful party with a religious touch. So, German Thanksgiving stands out because it especially blends faith and community.

Find out the translation of “Happy Thanksgiving” in Italian here.

What Is The Usual German Greeting For The Holidays?

In Germany, when people want to wish each other well during the holidays, they often say “Frohe Festtage!” which means “Season’s Greetings!” or “Happy Holidays!” 

It’s like a friendly way of saying, “I hope you have a great time during this special season.” But when it’s Christmas, the magic phrase is “Frohe Weihnachten!” which means “Merry Christmas!” 

“Frohe Erntedankfest!’ in German reminds us that Thanksgiving transcends borders, uniting hearts with grateful wishes.”

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So, whether it’s Christmas or any other holiday, these greetings are how Germans spread happiness and good wishes to their friends and family. 

Read: How Do Native Americans Spend Thanksgiving?

What Foods Do Germans Eat On Thanksgiving?

Alongside turkey, Germans enjoy side dishes like Schupfnudeln (Swabian gnocchi), Spaetzle (Southern German pasta), Grünkohl (kale), Reibekuchen (potato pancakes), and Semmelknödel or Kartoffelknödel (bread or potato dumplings). 

These dishes add unique flavors to their Thanksgiving feast. It’s like combining American classics with German specialties to create a delicious mix of tastes for the holiday meal. 

So, if you ever celebrate Thanksgiving in Germany, you’ll savor these yummy dishes.

What Foods Do German-Americans Consume On Thanksgiving?

Yeast Dumplings

1. German Yeast Dumplings

German Americans often incorporate their heritage into Thanksgiving by serving German yeast dumplings. These dumplings, known as “Knödel,” are made from a dough that includes yeast [1]. 

They have a soft, airy texture and can be savory or slightly sweet. These dumplings are typically served as a side dish alongside turkey or roast, and they soak up the delicious gravy.

2. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage, or “Rotkohl” in German, is a popular Thanksgiving side dish among German-Americans. 

It’s a sweet and sour red cabbage dish [2] often cooked with apples, onions, and spices. 

The combination of sweet and tangy flavors adds a vibrant and flavorful element to the Thanksgiving spread, complementing the main dishes perfectly.

3. Creamy Potato Pumpkin Skillet

Creamy potato pumpkin skillet is a comforting and hearty dish that combines the flavors of potatoes and pumpkin in a creamy sauce. 

German Americans embrace this dish for its warm and earthy taste, making it an ideal addition to the Thanksgiving table, especially if they want to infuse some German flavors into the traditional feast.

4. Beef Roast With Gravy

Some German Americans opt for beef roast with gravy as the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving meal. 

This dish showcases tender beef, often seasoned with German herbs and spices, served with a rich, savory gravy. 

5. Baked Gingerbread Apples

German Americans often indulge in baked gingerbread apples to round off their Thanksgiving feast. 

These apples are filled with gingerbread crumbs, spices, and sometimes nuts or raisins. Baking them creates a warm, comforting dessert with a touch of holiday spice.

Also Read: How Do You Say “Trick or Treat” In Spanish?


How do you show gratitude in German?

If you’re wondering how to show gratitude in German, it’s quite straightforward. The most common way is to say “Danke!” which is the universal “Thank you” in German. 

For a more emphatic expression of thanks, you can use “Danke Sehr!” which means “Thank you very much!” 

But how can you wish “Happy Thanksgiving” to the boss?

Is Thanksgiving in Germany only a holiday for Catholics?

Thanksgiving in Germany is not limited to Catholics; Catholics and Protestants participate in this celebration. 

It typically occurs on the first Sunday in October, and people from both religious backgrounds come together to celebrate and attend church services.

How is German Thanksgiving different from American Thanksgiving?

In Germany, it’s primarily a harvest celebration, while in the US, it commemorates the pilgrims and their grand feast. 

Unlike the fixed date of American Thanksgiving, Germans view it as a season-spanning several weeks rather than a single day.

Bottom Line

So, when you want to say “Happy Thanksgiving” in German, you can use “Frohe Erntedankfest!” 

That’s like a friendly bridge between languages, letting you share the Thanksgiving spirit with German pals. 

And speaking of Thanksgiving, in Germany, they have their special celebration called “Erntedankfest.” 

It’s unique because they thank God for the harvest and have fun community gatherings. 

So, whether you’re saying “Frohe Erntedankfest!” or learning about German Thanksgiving, it’s all about being thankful and enjoying time with friends and family, no matter where you are.


Kimberlee Johnson
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