A History Lesson: Canadian vs. United States Thanksgiving
We Americans often think that the Canadians may be a bit odd. After all, they celebrate Thanksgiving in October and on a Monday, the second Monday of the month. This year it falls on October 12th.
" But what about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock? " one might ask.
Wake up, you silly Americans!
There was an English explorer, Sir Martin Frobischer, who was looking for the Northwest Passage. His third voyage was in 1578, and it was that year that this arctic explorer celebrated "thanksgiving."
If you remember your history, it was not until 1621 that the Pilgrims celebrated "The First Thanksgiving" in the New World. So, the explorers in Canada were thankful 43 years longer.
Americans (both U.S. and Canada) can be a competitive lot.
Thanksgiving Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that there would be national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." So every year since 1863 on the last Thursday of November, we gather friends and family for huge feasts, generally with a turkey as its centerpiece.
Not to be outdone, Canada's Parliament called theirs "a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed." It became a Canadian national holiday in 1879. It only took them 16 years to figure it out, versus the Pilgrims' needing 43 years.
I have often wondered why we do not, as North Americans, just get both countries' turkeys together to figure out how to combine both days for one big feast. We could split the difference of that 45 days, and do a two-day blow-out celebration on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of November.
Canada's harvest ends sooner, and the United States' harvest is later, so we would have food for us all. We might even take those two days, and make it a big two-week shindig, if we could get everyone to agree.
One big party. No competition. Well...until the turkeys decided to say, "Puck it!" and beat each other with big sticks.
Have you taken the short and sweet, What Should We Do About Thanksgiving Day in North America? poll yet?
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Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang
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