CANADA NEWS: Canada’s Thanksgiving Day was first

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News


So many things are the same, but so different. Both the U.S.A. and Canada are my favorite.

Having been born and raised in Montreal, my awareness of who and where I come from has helped me to be more aware of who and what I am. I was shocked to find myself in the United States after I moved there on Thanksgiving 1990,. It is very similar to my Canadian homeland, but it is also so different in many ways.

When it comes to running things in Canada, there are four major parties: the Liberals, Conservatives and the New Democratic Party. All of them competing for the position of prime minister. The American Republican Party and Democratic Parties continue to fight for the presidency.

Canadians take longer vacations and take more breaks from work than the average person. They also drink milk out of plastic bags. Canada’s snacks are also different. You may have tried ketchup, or all-dressed flavored potato chip. Poutine is a delicious dish made with crispy french fries and topped with cheese curds, gravy, and other toppings.

All of the Commonwealth countries celebrate Boxing Day the 26th of December. This official holiday has many suggested origins, but the one I prefer to believe started in early 1800s England, during the reign of Queen Victoria. A wealthy family would give their child an old pair of shoes or toy in exchange for a new pair. Boxing Day in modern times is when one returns the Christmas gifts that they don’t like to be exchanged or given credit.

We also have Thanksgiving. This is a patriotic season when we remember the colonial era. Those were tough years. Pilgrim survival was difficult, especially for women, because of the harsh winter months. Pilgrim women were always more numerous than the Pilgrim men.

Some of the local Indian tribes shared knowledge about farming, fishing, and winter survival with the settlers. The death toll started to decline, while the European population in New World began to rise. The native people shared their techniques and land was settled. In the fall of 1621, with bountiful fields harvested, it was suggested that a harvest festival be organized, open to all, including the local tribes. This idea stuck. Thanksgiving is a huge American holiday.

The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The American Thanksgiving celebration focused on God’s appreciation for the bounty of the harvest. Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving by giving thanks to God that He protected them as they explored the New World and settled it.

Did you know that the first Canadian Thanksgiving actually happened decades before the first Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, on Nov. 11, 1620? Records show that the first Canadian Thanksgiving was in 1578 when Martin Frobisher, a British explorer, and his crew shared a feast of thanks to God for granting them safe passage through the unexplored northern passage into what is known today as the Canadian Territory of Nunavut.

Since then, the Canadian Thanksgiving has taken on many identities. It includes the celebration of Prince of Wales’s recovery from a near death illness in April 1872.

Now we take a look at the special Thursday in November or Monday in October and gather with our families and friends to reflect on all we are grateful for. For me, I’m thankful to be able to call Canada and the United States home.

Richard Hunter resides in Jacksonville.

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