History and Celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l’Action de grâce), occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner.

On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October. ”

About the Celebration:

As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.[citation needed](Photo from faeries.finest.com)

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, though Sunday and Monday are the most common. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways.

Canada’s top professional football league, the Canadian Football League, holds a nationally televised doubleheader known as the “Thanksgiving Day Classic.” It is one of two weeks in which the league plays on Monday afternoons, the other being the Labour Day Classic. Unlike the Labour Day games, the teams that play on the Thanksgiving Day Classic rotate each year.

History

Various First Nations in Canada had long-standing traditions celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Canada’s First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.[6]

 

Canadian troops attend a Thanksgiving service in a bombed-out cathedral in Cambrai, France in October 1918

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, in 1604 onwards also held huge feasts of thanks.

For info visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(Canada)

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