Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October, making today the annual holiday to express gratitude and celebrate the harvest. The actual holiday is today but many of my family and friends gathered for their Thanksgiving feast on Saturday or Sunday in order to enjoy the extra day off today and the turkey leftovers. For many Canadians it will be the last time to have a long weekend getaway before winter snows blow in.
People gather together all over the world to celebrate the harvest in celebrations of different names. The Canadian Thanksgiving celebration isn’t rooted in Pilgrims sailing across the ocean and sitting down for a feast with the natives. The tradition of Canadian Thanksgiving came from Europe and the French and British explorers and settlers. Festivals of thanks and celebration of the harvest took place Europe in October. The first known celebration of Thanksgiving in North America was in Newfoundland in 1578 when Martin Frobisher celebrated his safe journey from England to Canada. This means that the traditions of “giving thanks” were celebrated well before the US tradition. The first meal celebrated by the Frobisher expedition didn’t have a turkey included in it. They ate what was available, salt beef, crackers and mushy peas. (Mushy peas are dried peas that are reconstituted to look thick and lumpy. Brits still love them and eat them.)
After that first Thanksgiving, celebrations were held by various “travelers” to give thanks for safe their safe voyages and the end of wars from the time that Canada was first discovered. The first Thanksgiving Day that was celebrated as a civic holiday wasn’t until after Canadian confederation in 1872; a day that was meant to celebrate the future King of England’s recovery from a serious illness. The Canadian Thanksgiving day was changed around so many times between the actual designation and the first explorers, at one time even being celebrated on November 11, Remembrance Day. It wasn’t until 1957 that the Canadian Government designated the second Monday in October as a holiday, meant to be a day to give thanks.
Canadians have many reasons to give thanks but over the years many of the traditions have changed, mostly due to Canada’s ethnic diversity. The tradition of celebrating the day with a turkey (adopted from US traditions) is not always the norm. Some families will prepare a feast of foods that is more in tune with their culture and traditions. A recent event that’s come to Canada is the “Black Friday” sales. This is meant to give shoppers a “jump start” on their Christmas shopping. But Canadians are lucky?? enough to be able to participate in both the Canadian sales in October and the US sales in November because there are so many US retailers now in Canada; yet another way that the US traditions work their way across the Canadian border.
Today, in Panama I’ll take a moment to cultivate gratitude for what we have. Today, I’ve already noticed the sun trying to peak out from behind the clouds. After a day of off and on showers yesterday that yellow orb is a welcome sight. Today and every day, I’ll be thankful for my children, my family and my friends both here and around the world. Today, I’m thankful that I can help others even if it is only in a small way. Today I give thanks for all that I’ve been given as I begin my day in the campo.
- Canadian Thanksgiving: Not much to do with the Pilgrims (suffonsifisms.wordpress.com)
- A Day for Giving Thanks (opentheism.wordpress.com)
- A Canadian Thanksgiving (imconfident.wordpress.com)
- Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey Day in Canada (mangosalute.com)
- Happy Canadian Thanksgiving (treehugger.com)
- Happy Thanksgiving, Canada! (dushonok.com)