By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Thursday, November 28th marks the American holiday of Thanksgiving this year and in Rio de Janeiro, while Brazil does not celebrate the holiday, many Americans away from home and Brazilians eager to learn more about the day will come together in the city to give thanks as well.
While many families and friends will be cooking at home this year in Rio, Ipanema’s Gringo Café will host Thanksgiving dinners throughout the entire weekend to commemorate the holiday.
“Thanksgiving is our biggest day of the year and has grown every year since we opened,” Sam Flowers, American owner of the Gringo Café, which has annually hosted a Thanksgiving dinner since opening in 2010, told The Rio Times.
“We do get a lot of Brazilians and the numbers do seem to be increasing. More and more Brazilians have had the experience in the U.S. and are excited to re-live it here.”
Thanksgiving is traditionally a social event and a time of coming together. It is celebrated by families and friends gathering to eat a meal, usually with turkey as the main dish. During that meal the participants give thanks for the good things they have and have experienced throughout the year.
“Thanksgiving for me is really about family,” Flowers said, adding, “and while I am far from my relatives, I am very thankful for my amazing and loyal staff and faithful clients that have become my family here in Rio.”
Flowers and his staff at the Gringo Café will serve up a full traditional Thanksgiving meal throughout the day on the 28th. On the menu will be roasted Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. A turkey platter, including all of the aforementioned items will be available for R$60.
Drinks, second helpings and desserts will be sold separately and those planning to attend are advised to save room for dessert as the Gringo Café will prepare a very special pumpkin pie for the holiday.
Thanksgiving Day reservations are recommended but fortunately for those who can’t make it on Thursday, the holiday menu will be offered through December 1st.
The American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio) has decided to not host their annual Thanksgiving Lunch this year. The event was cancelled on Tuesday, November 26th due to low pre-sales, a surprise to organizers after last year, when around two hundred people attended.
It has been one of the biggest community events in Rio, the last two years taking place at the Union Church in Barra da Tijuca, and before then, the Marriott in Copacabana. Even so, Michael Lindsay, President of AmSoc Rio told The Rio Times. “Our goal as the American Society is to ‘Celebrate American traditions in Rio de Janeiro’ and certainly Thanksgiving is such a great holiday to celebrate.”