About to celebrate your first Thanksgiving in Canada? Here are 5 things you should know about this holiday:
It is held every second Monday of October
- We celebrate Thanksgiving in October.
- Americans celebrate it in the fourth Thursday of November.
- Canada is further north so the harvest comes earlier. This is why Thanksgiving is also earlier.
- Canadians had many different dates for Thanksgiving in the past.
- Earliest celebrations:
- The First Nations’ festivals of completion and abundance of the harvest.
- Celebration of explorer Sir Martin Frobisher’s safe arrival in the eastern Arctic in 1578.
- November 6 as a Day of Thanksgiving in 1879. It was considered a national holiday.
- Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day (November 11) were celebrated in the same week in the First World War.
- The government moved it to the second Monday of October in 1957.
Thanksgiving is about harvest
- Canadian Thanksgiving is about celebrating the harvest.
- American Thanksgiving points to the Pilgrims’ feast at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. It is considered the first Thanksgiving in the US.
- Thanksgiving for Canada would be “a day of general thanksgiving to the almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada had been blessed.”
- Today’s Thanksgiving celebration is a day to show gratitude for all our blessings (not just the harvest). It is an occasion to share a wonderful feast with our family and friends.
It is an official holiday
- Thanksgiving is one of the eight official holidays in Manitoba. This means you’ll have a long weekend.
- Most stores are closed. Some open for a few hours.
- Check store schedules before you go.
Turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie
- Thanksgiving food:
- roasted turkey
- mashed potatoes with gravy
- cranberry sauce
- sweet corn
- sweet potatoes
- pumpkin pie
- But you can serve your own dishes.
- Many Canadian families celebrate with food like dim sum, ham, slaw, and others.
- Canada is a country with many cultures. This is expected.
It is not about shopping
- There are only a few “Thanksgiving Week Sales” in Canada. Its biggest shopping day is on December 26, Boxing Day.
- Black Friday is the next day after Thanksgiving in the US.
- Black Friday is a big shopping day.
- Many people go out because of the big discounts and special offers on this day.
- It is the start of the Christmas shopping season for them.
Sources: The First Thanksgiving in North America by Laura Neilson Bonikowsky (Canadian Encyclopedia); Canadian Thanksgiving (kidzworld.com); Three ways Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving, Carolyn Ali (Inside Vancouver).
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Want to know about other Canadian holidays? Check the list.
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