In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple facts that Canada is farther north.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to the English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find the northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued the ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the North Atlantic named after him - Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving. There are many similarities such as pumpkin pie between the two celebrations.

Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War 1, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day. Finally on January 31st, 1957 Parliament proclaimed "A day of General Thanksgiving to Almight God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been be observed on the 2nd Monday of October".


Tricia Greer

Tricia Greer

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