The United States’ neighbor to the north, Canada, has their own Thanksgiving. Theirs is different from the United States’ in some ways, but there are also many similarities.
One of the biggest differences between the Thanksgivings, is the different dates. U.S. Thanksgiving is on the third Thursday in November, while Canadian Thanksgiving happens a full month and a half before, on the second Monday in October. It is around the time of the Canadian harvest. Canada’s harvesting season is almost two months earlier than U.S. harvesting season because of how far north it is. In Canada, Thanksgiving wasn’t a national holiday until 1879. Parliament then declared November 6 to be a Thanksgiving holiday, and it remained this way until 1957. In 1908 it was moved to a Monday, and then in 1957 a law was passed that made it the second Monday in October.
Canadian Thanksgiving has a completely different meaning to it than the U.S. version. Some say that its origin comes from Martin Frobisher’s third voyage to Canada in 1578. Others believe that it came from French settlers in the 1600’s and wanted to celebrate their harvests. Canadian Thanksgiving is also not observed nationwide; some places in Canada do not celebrate. In New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island it is an optional holiday.
The Canadian Thanksgiving used to revolve around religion, but not anymore. This is similar to the Puritans, who used to give thanks through prayer, not feasting.
Most people in Canada usually only leave home for a couple of days to see family. This is similar to the U.S, though some people sometimes leave for up to an entire week to see family.
Canadians don’t always think that Thanksgiving is that big of a deal. Canada does not have a big parade to celebrate their Thanksgiving or Black Friday. There aren’t any big shopping sales surrounding that weekend at all, but there are some sales in November for the holiday season. This is unlike the U.S. which has a lot of events surrounding it like football, shopping and a big parade.
Both Thanksgivings are a way for families and friends to come together to eat good food and remember to be grateful!