Canadian Thanksgiving > American Thanksgiving
Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Canada! Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving was yesterday, but who says we can’t celebrate today?!?!
Disclaimer: if I have the pleasure of knowing you in real life or IRL as the kids are saying these days, you know that I have a slight fascination with the nation of Canada. So I’ll just put that out there in regards to today’s post. However, I try to be as objective as I can when explaining why I prefer Canadian Thanksgiving to American Thanksgiving.
Growing up here in The States, I was taught the story of Thanksgiving at a very young age. Thanksgiving is a holiday for peace because the Pilgrims and Indians sat down at a table all together and shared their food knowledge to make a wonderful meal. Everyone was happy. For a long time this was my favorite holiday because of this story. But then I got older and found out some other things about my beloved peaceful foodie holiday.
First, the timing was really off for me. Thanksgiving in America takes place on the 4th Thursday of November. How many crops are still growing then? It’s cold and dreary and the harvest has already happened. Later, I come to learn that FDR moved the date (the date of which had previously been declared by the President on whatever day he wished) to boost the economy. Second, according to what I learned in school, the first Thanksgiving happened in the mid 1500s and signified peace between two people. Well, there was a lot of fighting between Native Americans and settlers between the 1500s and now. It wasn’t that strong of a meal then in my mind. Also, there is new research that shows that the first “Thanksgiving” might have been a Spanish celebration in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565. (I bet they had tortillas on the table!) Now if that is true, it will take a lot to change our traditional story that is taught to our children. And finally, present day Thanksgiving has turned into the start of a highly commercial time between then and Christmas. The commercials are over the top and people get trampled on at KMart. It’s just not my favorite time of year.
Canadian Thanksgiving on the other hand, has a little bit of a different history. There are two founding stories for Thanksgiving for our neighbors to the north. There was an explorer by the name of Martin Frobisher who had been trying to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. While his search was unsuccessful, he decided to throw a homecoming party for himself when he returned safely to Newfoundland in 1578. The French settlers in the early 17th century also celebrated the success of their harvests and shared their bounty with the indigenous people of Canada. There seems to be less debate over the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving which is nice because it makes it a more honest holiday in my opinion. (After all, Canadian are polite, right?) In 1957, the Canadian government settled on celebrating Thanksgiving on the 2nd MONDAY in October. Here’s my first point for Canada. Instant 3 day weekend! In America, there is always that awkward Friday after when some people have to work and others do not. Also, I like that Canadian Thanksgiving takes palace during harvest time. It makes sense to me. It fits better. And finally, the fact that Canadian Thanksgiving is held in October makes it a little less commercial in my mind. But again, I don’t live in Canada so I don’t know how true that is, but at least there is a little bit more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
From what I can tell, the foods that are shared at the table on Thanksgiving are pretty similar throughout North America. I’ll write more about those later, today was just a little history lesson.
Also, while researching I found out that Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Liberia, The Netherlands, and Norfolk Island, Australia.
Fun Fact: Thanksgiving was brought to Norfolk Island by visiting American whaling ships.
So are your thoughts on the history Thanksgiving?
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