Happy Thanksgiving Canada

Thanksgiving Day in Canada is linked to the European tradition of harvest festivals. ©iStockphoto.com/Olga Lyubkina

The second Monday in October is Thanksgiving in Canada, my favourite holiday! It looks like we will have perfect Indian Summer weather too – bonus! Oops – the way things go these days that term may not be politically correct – no offence meant!

Now for a quick history briefing. The origins of the first Thanksgiving in Canada go back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving celebration was not for harvest, but for homecoming. I guess so!

He had safely returned from an unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In 1578, Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey. Years later, the tradition of a feast would continue as more settlers began to arrive to the Canadian colonies.

The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving can also be traced to the French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century, who also took to celebrating their successful harvests.

As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, would also add their own traditions to the harvest celebrations.

As they do in the States in November, family and friends in Canada traditionally gather and eat way too much food. At our son’s house this year it will be roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, ham, and assorted veggies with squash and sweet potatoes obligatory. Farm fresh pumpkin and apple pies for dessert! There will be three generations including our two youngest grandchildren, ages 2 and 3, who always inspire laughter. The best part of this holiday is that we all take the time to count our blessings and think about being thankful … without going shopping or opening any gifts. WE are the gift and that’s a beautiful thing!

We live in a wonderful country where democracy rules and we enjoy freedoms still being fought for in many other parts of the planet. Even in this time of economic uncertainty, we have much for which to give thanks. Let’s focus on the positive, take time every day to do something kind for others, and celebrate each day for the gift it is. I know you want to!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours in Canada. Happy Columbus Day to our American neighbours. There’s always something to celebrate!

And now a word from the turkey.

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving? Is your menu like ours or do you plan a different meal?  Is Columbus Day celebrated in any special way?

22 responses to “Happy Thanksgiving Canada

  1. I used to love Thanksgiving dinner. Then I became celiac and couldn’t eat any of it anymore, except the corn and turkey. My relatives wouldn’t even attempt to make special recipes for me, and since they’re not the best company anyway, my mom and I stopped going. Over the past few years, we’ve experimented with gluten-free stuffing, gravy, and biscuits, and while they turned out okay, they weren’t like the original.

    Since it’s just the two of us now, we don’t make a Thanksgiving meal anymore, except maybe some ham and yams. The one tradition we do have is the day after Thanksgiving we go to the Harvest Festival, which is this huge gathering of crafts people selling their wares. There’s a lot of really neat stuff to look at.

    • Oh the Harvest Festival sounds like a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate or what you eat for Thanksgiving (ham and yams sound good to me though!), you have found a way to make it special to you. That’s a good thing!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Patricia!

    Even though I’m now an American citizen I have to say that I long for the days when my Thanksgivings were in October instead of November. Around here we all give thanks and then ask for fortitude to get us through the Christmas season, because the day after Thanksgiving… we’re in a race to the finish. LOL

    Thanks for the reminder of my history. I’d forgotten the Frobisher story!

  3. It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays as well. Filled with such tradition and good food. We used to do big family dinners but now hubby and I escape to our camp and usually have my Mom and step-dad out for a big dinner there. YUM!
    So much to be thankful for. Here’s hoping for good weather because we like to spend a couple days going biking and taking in the wonderment and beauty of fall. Stunnign this time of year.
    And last year we saw an owl up close for the first time.

  4. Patricia, I grew up in Canada (husband disagrees about the ‘growing up’ part, grin) and reading the history was a great way to start my morning. Thanks for this great post.

    My Canadian brother arrives for a visit tomorrow so we will enjoy two Thanksgivings this year, one with him, and then the US one with my husband. I suspect a rib roast will grace the table for the November one or maybe both. Our children live in AK, TX & CA so we’ve not enjoyed a family Thanksgiving for many years.

    My fault, as I stressed to my children that every day was a special day, and Holiday celebrations were to enjoy when together, but not to make one miserable if not with family.

    Because I was so far away from my Canadian family I was miserable at birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, so homesick I couldn’t enjoy the day, so I made our celebrations different every year in my new family after marriage, to ensure they would not get attached to tradition. The youngest daughter missed it and has great celebrations in her home. The other two can can take it or leave it. As can I, and I enjoy the freedom to be creative with holidays … or not.

    • It’s interesting about traditions, isn’t it? To some they are essential and others not so much. What’s important is how you feel. Have a great visit with your brother!

  5. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you! I love to learn about other countries’ customs and am ashamed to admit I didn’t even know Canada had a Thanksgiving.

    There is so much to be thankful for, it’s nice to take a moment and just be with family to reflect on life. Enjoy!

    • Thanks so much! You’re not alone as I have come across quite a few Americans who didn’t know we celebrated Thanksgiving. I’m having a wonderful time being back home with our family and getting absolutely NO work done! Gotta get back to the grindstone next week!

  6. Hi Patricia!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!!! Last year I had the whole family over and hubby was out of town, not ideal, this year we’re going to my MIL’s and I cannot express how excited I am. I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!!
    I’m thankful I don’t have to cook and that I get to see my wonderful relatives & even go boating this weekend! 🙂
    Enjoy yours!

  7. Happy Thanksgiving Patricia!

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Anytime I can have all the food I love in the same room with all the people I love it feels like Heaven:)

    Enjoy!

  8. I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving Day, Patricia! We eat exactly the same food as you on Thanksgiving here in November. It would be nice to have it in October as it wouldn’t be such a bustling time of year. The day after Turkey Day is Black Friday when all the stores are open for Christmas shopping at 3 AM. I never get involved with that craziness. I stay home and clean up and put my feet up. Our families come to us for Thanksgiving-just 14 of us this year, but that includes the 4 grandkids – lots of laughs!

    • Thanks Marcia, it was a fabulous w/e and you are so right about the laughs with the grandkids! We are often in FL for American Thanksgiving so celebrate then too and, oh yeah, Black Friday … definitely crazy!
      Today brings another of my favourite parts of Thanksgiving – cold turkey sandwiches!

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