Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Little History-Canadian Thanksgiving

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! An American friend of mine was asking why we crazy Canucks celebrate the holiday a whole month early, for goodness sake. I always thought it was because we northern folk are a little smarter then the rest, making sure that we spaced our turkey dinners a little farther apart. (kidding!!) But no! Apparently it has more to do with the weather and convenience sake.

Forty three years before the pilgrims came over to the New World in Masschusetts, explorer Mark Frobisher arrived in Canada. After his long journey, he celebrated his safe arrival in Halifax with a feast of thanks. French explorer Samual Champlain also arrived in Canada around the same time, and the settlers that came with him also had a great feast of thanks for their safe arrival in the New World. I'd think they were probably just relieved to get off that boat! Did they have turkey? Who knows? It's said that they shared their food with the First Nations (or Native) population. Sound familiar?

Originally, Thanksgiving wasn't really given a set day in Canada. For a long time, most people celebrated it on the third Monday in October until Parliment set aside November 6th as our National Day of Thanks. However, that didn't work out, because after the World Wars Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day (November 11th) began falling on the same week. Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October in 1957.

Another reason we celebrate earlier is that because it's colder up here we gather our harvest sooner. Thanksgiving in Canada is a more of a celebration of gathering the harvest, not about pilgrims. Other then that, we do pretty much all the same things like eat pumpkin pie and turkey, get together with family, etc. Probably the biggest differences besides the date is that we don't have the Black Friday shopping frenzy after, and deep fried turkey isn't nearly as popular.

Whatever your traditions are, have a great Thanksgiving!

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