By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This year the American celebration of the holiday of Thanksgiving will fall on Thursday, November 26th and Americans abroad in Rio de Janeiro, expatriates from numerous other countries, and Brazilians eager to take part in the holiday will celebrate in homes and at several venues throughout the city.

Thanksgiving dinner is about food, family and friends, no matter where celebrated, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Thanksgiving dinner is about food, family and friends, no matter where celebrated, stock image.

Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally observed in America by eating with family and friends on the fourth Thursday of November. The holiday is also observed in Canada but on the second Monday of October.

The first Thanksgiving in the United States took place during the fall of 1621 when Pilgrims broke bread with Native Americans to celebrate a successful harvest and to give thanks for their abundant lives. In Rio de Janeiro this year, while it is spring and not harvest time, expatriates and Brazilians alike will still carry on the tradition.

The largest gathering for Thanksgiving in Rio is the annual American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio) Thanksgiving Dinner. Known for bringing expatriates together and offering holiday comfort with a chance to makes new friends to give thanks for, this year the event will take place on Thanksgiving Day at 7:30 PM in the JW Marriott located on Av. Atlântica, 2600 in Copacabana.

AmSoc Rio’s menu will include turkey, ham, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, pecan pie, and more. The price for American Society members is R$120 plus ten percent tax per person and includes non-alcoholic beverages. There is a fifty percent discount for children under age eleven and all, both member and non-members, are welcome. Email events.amsoc@gmail.com for more information.

After moving the event to Barra da Tijuca for a few years, last year the organization brought Thanksgiving back to Copacabana where they had another amazing turnout. Long-standing member Michael Royster described, “Coming back to town and, especially, holding our Thanksgiving celebration on the day itself rather than on the weekend was fantastic! We drew lots more people to the event, and were able to raise a substantial amount for charity.”

Thanksgiving dinner at the JW Marriott, photo by Felicity Clarke.
The AmSoc Rio Thanksgiving dinner has returned to the JW Marriott in Copacabana, photo by Felicity Clarke.

Royster explains, “Thanksgiving is America’s premiere family holiday, it’s when families get together. For many of us whose families are in the U.S. or elsewhere outside Brazil, it’s a chance for us to feel that same family atmosphere with our friends here.” Adding, “We’re especially proud to welcome this year AmSoc’s Honorary President, U.S. Consul General James ‘Jimmy” Story’ and his wife Susan.”

In Ipanema, the Gringo Cafe will also celebrate the holiday with a traditional dinner, served from noon to 11PM. Since its opening in 2010, the restaurant, which is well known for its year round authentic American dinning experience, has helped expatriates from the U.S. feel at home on the holiday.

Once again this year the menu will include all of the traditional favorites. The Turkey Platter will consist of roasted turkey, with both white and dark meat plus homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, sautéed green beans with bacon, and cranberry sauce. The complete platter will be available for for R$75. Side portions of stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and more with also be available for R$9.90 each and a 60oz portion of turkey will be available for for R$35.

Additionally, Gringo Cafe will offer a Bread Basket with biscuits, corn bread muffins, butter and honey butter available for R$15 and desserts including pumpkin pie with whipped cream, pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream and assorted cakes and pies, for varying prices.

Those interested in attending the dinner at Gringo Café should make reservations in advance by contacting owner Sam Flowers at sam@gringocafe.com. For those dining at home, it should also be noted that take out orders including turkey, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie, are available on the holiday.

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