Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm Thankful for Wikipedia

You've probably wondered about it.

Why do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving day in October, and Americans, celebrate it in November?

Both countries have the exact same things. Turkey, stuffing, giving thanks, two football games, etc.

Now, most people know the origins of American Thanksgiving, but how did it start in Canada?

Well, the good people at Wikipedia have the answer:

Thanksgiving in Canada

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The United States later set aside the same day as the federal holiday of Columbus Day. Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The roots of the Canadian holiday are different than those of the United States of America.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Canada. 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. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving, and the first Thanksgiving to have taken place in North America. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. 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, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their Native-Canadian neighbours.

After the Seven Years' War ended in 1763 handing over New France to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving.

During the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal (United Empire Loyalists) to Great Britain were exiled from the United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada.

Eventually in 1879, the Canadian Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday in Canada. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular being the third Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays, and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

Finally, on January 31st, 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."

Now you know.

The Hek

-After Thanksgiving dinner, relax with Episode Thirteen of The Audio Circus-


Blake said...

All I've got to say is thank goodness for Wikipedia! It's a godsend for trivia enthusiasts like me...

The Hek said...


Now if only Universities accepted it as a scholarly resource.

Anonymous said...

William Shatner. At least he could play the role.

- Mr. Wood

The Hek said...

Noted. Thanks for the vote

Sean Carter said...

Well one more aspect added to my list of being thankful.....on that note check out this Thanksgiving Blog for many more cool's really great!!!!