Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
I was recently asked by a USA Facebook friend if “Canadian Thanksgiving is, in any way, like the American one?” This reminded me that a co-worker mentioned recently that Thanksgiving is his favourite feast holiday because, unlike Christmas, there is no pressure - just pleasure!
Not ever having lived in the USA, my knowledge of USA Thanksgiving is entirely the product of the media (both TV and social networks). The question, however, made be ponder a comparison.
I think Canadian Thanksgiving is mostly about dinner. Just as in the USA, it’s a family feast occasion and our usual menu plan is much like what I’ve learned our USA friends have: roasted turkey with fixings'n’gravy and pumpkin pie. Stuffing (“dressing” to my USA friends) and cranberry sauce, round out the delicacies. M-m-m-m-m!
Unlike, the USA however, Canadian Thanksgiving is too far from Christmas for “Black Friday” to have an impact. Heck, the kids have barely started back to school for the year and we haven’t even had Hallowe’en yet.
Also, Canadian football isn't as popular as NFL or College football is in the USA so we don’t have a Thanksgiving game to think of watching even if we’re closer to our Grey Cup championship than our USA friends are to their Super Bowl.
As well, while the Canadian holiday (and it is a statutory or “bank” holiday) officially falls on the second Monday in October annually, I'd guess most Canadians will have had their feast on Sunday and will be resting up today, all the while savouring left-over turkey meals. :-)
A retired work colleague provided me with some (unverified) Canadian Thanksgiving trivia to amuse us:
· The tradition of celebrating the fall harvest is repute to have been started in 1578 when English explorer Sir Martin Frobisher held a feast in what is now Newfoundland while he was searching for the Northwest Passage. This was the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America.
· The USA picked up the feasting tradition afterwards and have tied the festivities to the arrival of the pilgrims.
· Turkeys are native to North America and were first imported to Europe by the early explorers. Apparently, the original native name for this bird is “Uexoloti”. Difficult for Europeans to pronounce, the birds eventually became known as turkeys because they were traded around the Mediterranean by merchants from Turkey who were called “Turkey merchants”.
· The use of turkey as the main course for Thanksgiving came to Canada when USA citizens, loyal to the Crown in England, migrated north to Nova Scotia bringing their customs with them.
· The second Sunday in October was designated as Thanksgiving by the Canadian federal government in 1957. Prior to that, the observance of Thanksgiving had no fixed date in Canada.
My oldest two sons joined us this holiday weekend from their distant homes. I love having all three of them at home but I had to note to my husband the other day, that if the two oldest lived closer to us and regularly had breakfast here, we'd have to raise hens just to keep up with the egg demand . . . holy cow, do we ever go through eggs (and bacon) when there are five men in the house.
I have much to be thankful for: my awesome husband and family, my friends and my wonderful country. Happy Thanksgiving Canada . . .