Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day 2007 Canada!

The second Monday in October is Thanksgiving Day in Canada whereas in the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday in November because the harvest comes later there.

For the benefit of Canadians and Americans alike, here’s a short interesting survey of Thanksgiving north and south of the border from The Toronto Star.


The first Thanksgiving ceremony in North America was held in Canada - way before the Pilgrims!

….did you know that the first Thanksgiving ceremony held by Europeans in North America was in the Canadian Arctic?

An English explorer named Martin Frobisher came to what is now Canada in 1576, looking for a northern sea route to Asia.

Frobisher and his men only got as far as the southeastern tip of what is now called Baffin Island.

On the northern shore of a bay – later named Frobisher Bay – they found odd-looking black stones, which they brought back to England. The stones were found to contain traces of gold.

England's Queen Elizabeth I helped fund two more voyages to Baffin Island to bring back stones, which were eventually deemed worthless after more testing.

On the last stone-gathering trip, in 1578, Frobisher and a few settlers held a ceremony giving thanks because they had survived the dangerous sea voyage.

That first Thanksgiving was mostly prayer and not so much about food.

Forty-three years later, a Thanksgiving ceremony was held by Pilgrims and native people in what is now Massachusetts in the U.S. The Pilgrims were English settlers looking for freedom to practise their religion.

They arrived in 1620 and were taught by natives to grow and hunt unfamiliar foods. Their first Thanksgiving feast was held after the harvest in 1621.

Native friends Squanto and Samoset and Chief Massasoit, along with 90 Wampanoag men, brought five deer to the celebration, which lasted three days.

The French settlers who arrived in what is now Quebec with Samuel de Champlain also held Thanksgiving feasts, as Europeans and native peoples had done at harvest time for centuries.

Everywhere, European explorers and settlers learned from the aboriginal peoples about growing and cooking corn, cranberries and pumpkin. They also learned to hunt wild turkey.

These early lessons about foods native to North America are still evident today on Thanksgiving dinner tables.

During the American Revolution, in the late 1700s, settlers called Loyalists came north to Canada, bringing their Thanksgiving customs with them.

Canada's Thanksgiving Day moved around, finally settling on the second Monday in October.

In the U.S., Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday in November because the harvest comes later there.




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