Monday, October 12, 2009

Twice Thankful

Magnet # 61:  Canadian Leaves

Material:  Pewter

Purchased By:  Dad

Those lucky Canadians - they have today off to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.  It falls at an earlier time than American Thanksgiving because they're north of us so their harvest season ends sooner than ours.  And, yes, I do realize some Americans have today off in honor of Columbus Day.  But I'm not amongst them, so it doesn't count (just kidding).

Canadians didn't just decide to adopt our concept of Thanksgiving and make it their own.  Europeans have a long-standing history of festivals to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.  Canadian Thanksgiving originated in 1578, when Martin Frobisher, an English explorer, hosted a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving in the New World.  By then, he had given up his original plan to find a passage to the Orient and had instead established a settlement in what would become Newfoundland.  There are also other instances of ceremonies held to give thanks in Canadian history.  French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain held a feast of thanks and even invited local Indians to join in.  And in 1763, after the Seven Year's War ended over in England, a day of thanks was held in Halifax.  When English loyalists moved north to Canada during the American Revolution, they began to influence Canadian Thanksgiving with their own customs and traditions, ensuring that all these years later, the two holidays would be very similar.

As far as I can tell, there are darn few differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving.  Both have parades, serve turkey and pie, and football games are held in each country on Thanksgiving Day.  I'm not sure if placing it on Monday is the best idea, though.  Who wants to drive home from the relatives' house after stuffing themselves with all that food and go to work the next day?  Come to think of it, our Thursday Thanksgiving isn't all that great unless people have Friday off.  Maybe holding Thanksgiving on Friday would be best, as folks would have the rest of the weekend to relax, then head home.  Well, it is what it is.  So enjoy your day off, Canucks!  Come November 26, we've got ours!

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