Thanksgiving Day in Canada
Thanksgiving Day in Canada, known as Thanksgiving or "Action de grâce" in French, is a national holiday celebrated annually to give thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year. The timing of Thanksgiving in Canada differs from its counterpart in the United States, as it is observed on the second Monday of October each year. The date of celebration changes every year, as it is determined by the calendar.
The origins of Thanksgiving Day in Canada can be traced back to the early 16th century when French explorer, Martin Frobisher, held a feast in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving a treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. This event is considered the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America, predating the American Thanksgiving by over 40 years. In 1879, the Canadian Parliament officially declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated on November 6th. However, the date was later changed to the second Monday of October in 1957 to avoid conflicts with Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11th.
National customs for Thanksgiving Day in Canada
Thanksgiving Day in Canada is celebrated with various customs that are similar to those in the United States. Family gatherings and feasting are central to the celebrations, with turkey being the most common main dish served during the festivities. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and an assortment of seasonal vegetables. Pumpkin and apple pies are popular dessert choices.
In addition to feasting, Canadians often spend time with their loved ones watching sports, particularly football, with the Canadian Football League hosting the "Thanksgiving Day Classic" games each year. Thanksgiving in Canada is also a time for people to reflect on their blessings and show gratitude for the good things in their lives.
Local customs for Thanksgiving Day in Canada
There are also regional customs and variations in the way Thanksgiving is celebrated across Canada. For instance, some Atlantic Canadian families may include seafood dishes in their Thanksgiving meal, while those in Quebec may have traditional French-Canadian dishes such as tourtière, a meat pie.
In some rural areas, agricultural communities may hold fall fairs and parades to celebrate the harvest season. These events may include activities such as pumpkin carving, hayrides, and local produce displays.
Thanksgiving Day in Canada is a cherished national holiday that provides an opportunity for Canadians to come together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings of the past year. With its rich history and diverse regional customs, the celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada is a testament to the country's cultural mosaic and its people's shared appreciation for the bounty of the land.