What Does Thanksgiving Mean To a Canadian
Monday, October 10, 2011, is observed by people all over the United States as Columbus Day. But, did you know that the 2nd Monday of every year in October is Thanksgiving Day in Canada?
There are only 4 places that recognize Thanksgiving — Canada, the United States, Liberia and Norfolk Island. So how did Canada come to recognize Thanksgiving Day? The very first Canadian recognition of Thanksgiving comes from the explorer, Martin Frobisher, the adventuresome English seaman who tried three separate voyages to the New World to discover the Northwest Passage. Each voyage ended up in northeastern Canada, right where today’s Resolution Island and Frobisher Bay are located.
On an unsuccessful trip to find the Passage, he returned home to Newfoundland. His gratitude for a safe journey and surviving the perils of his exploration led him to have a formal ceremony in 1578 to give thanks. However, the actual holiday of Canadian Thanksgiving can be attributed to the French settlers that traveled with Samuel de Champlain very early in the 17th century. The reason for celebrating was to give thanks for successful harvests.
Jour de l’Action de grâce (Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day) is celebrated fervishly by the Canadians as a continuance of giving thanks for a successful harvest at the end of the harvest season. While the Parliament initially references God and the churches celebrate the holiday, this day is usually celebrated in a more secular manner with all provinces in Canada, except Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) taking this day to recognize the true meaning of the day and to celebrate.
So what does Thanksgiving mean to a Canadian? Here are some of the reasons that I was able to pull out of a hat (or off the Internet):
- Elegant dinners with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie (oh, darn, my mouth is watering with the thoughts of such a bountiful meal)
- Time to spend with family
- CFL FOOTBALL!
- It’s not too cold — yet.
- Time to break out the spirits — fruit brandy (also known as eau-de-vie or schnapps), gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whisky.
- Freedom of religion, of speech, of association and the right to travel
- Thankful to be alive
- Thankful for a successful business
So what does Thanksgiving mean to you as a Canadian? Feel free to let us know. We’d love to hear about it.