If you know Mahalo at all, you know how we lean in on the meaning behind our name (not just thank you but also a word to convey deep respect and admiration). As a core tenet of who we are and how we move through the world, gratitude is something we always strive to embody, especially at this time of year. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at how different cultures around the world express gratitude. Here’s what we discovered.
Little favors and daily niceties
In China, thank you is only used formally, as the Chinese people believe using it every day diminishes the value of the underlying relationship. Gratitude is usually shown by doing small favors or daily niceties, sometimes offered with an apology for any inconvenience caused to the recipient.
Dear Officer Krupke…
In Japan, the holiday is called Labour Thanksgiving Day and it celebrates the principles of hard work and community involvement. Schoolchildren often make and send thank you cards to policemen, firefighters, and other public servants to express gratitude for their work.
To thank is to insult
In the everyday lives of people in India, thanking someone isn’t necessary because there’s an unspoken understanding of gratitude in everyday gestures. People feel saying thank you is a violation of the intimacy of the relationship because kindness, especially towards friends and family, is expected.
Germans gather woven baskets filled with all kinds of fruits and nuts and bring them to the church to be blessed. Then, to give thanks, they distribute these baskets among the poor in an elaborate procession. When given a gift, people often say bitte, meaning please, in humble acceptance.
Before Plymouth Rock, therewas St. Augustine Coquina
It’s not exactly “global,” but get this: Many historians argue that Florida was the true site of the first Thanksgiving. In 1565, nearly 60 years before Plymouth, a Spanish fleet came ashore at St. Augustine. To give thanks for their safe arrival, the settlers shared a festive meal with the native Timucuan people.
CHINA, INDIA, GERMANY: simplynoted.com/blogs/news/express-gratitude-around-the-world