Canadian Thanksgiving

This year Canadian Thanksgiving is October 12th!

How It Began

The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are connected to the traditions of Europe. Before Europeans settled in North America, festivals of thanks and celebrations of harvest took place in Europe in the month of October. The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World.

The Official Holiday

Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November for the first few hundred years. It was not until 1879 it was declared a national holiday. In 1879 it was actually November 6th as the official Thanksgiving holiday. On January 31st, 1957, Canadian Parliament announced that on the second Monday in October, Thanksgiving would be "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed." Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October. Mainly because after the World Wars, Remembrance Day (November 11th) and Thanksgiving kept falling in the same week.

Our American Neighbours

The reason for Canadian Thanksgiving arriving earlier than its American neighbour, is because Canada is geographically further north than the United States, the Canadian harvest season arrives earlier than the American harvest season. And because Thanksgiving for Canadians is more about giving thanks for the harvest season than the arrival of pilgrims, it makes sense to celebrate the holiday in October. Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, family gatherings, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey!

What will you be doing to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Do you have any family traditions that you're looking forward to? Have a great holiday!


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