Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October. This year Thanksgiving will fall on Monday, October 10, 2005.
Thanksgiving in Canada has generally thought to come from three traditions.
European farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time to give thanks for their good fortune of a good harvest and abundance of food. They would often fill a curved goat’s horn with fruits and grains. This was known as a cornucopia or horn of good plenty. When Europeans came to Canada it is thought to have become an influence on the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition.
Around 1578 English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony, in what is now Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving his journey there. Other settlers later arrived and continued these ceremonies.
The third tradition happened in 1621 in what was to become the United States. Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the New World. Around 1750 this celebration of harvest was brought to Nova Scotia by American settlers from the south. At the same time, French settlers arriving were also holding feasts of thanksgiving.
In 1879 Canadian Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years the date of Thanksgiving changed several times until on January 31st, 1957 Parliament proclaimed that the 2nd Monday in October be a day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.
I cannot imagine Canadian Parliament acknowledging Almighty God for anything at all these days. How the times have changed.
Nonetheless, I am thankful for the many blessings we enjoy in this country. And I am particularly thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my family this week-end. My daughter returns home from university tomorrow. We have made our plans for the big turkey dinner.
And, of course, the leftovers. Turkey pancakes, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup. You know the drill.