Some people may be surprised to know that not only does Canada also have Thanksgiving but that this particular holiday celebrates something entirely different than the one in the U.S.A while being over a month earlier. If you happy to be one of those lucky families with relatives on both sides of the border, guess what – double celebration!
Canadian Thanksgiving dates back to a time when First Nation’s people would celebrate a successful close to the harvest, a tradition which holds true to this day. Like in other countries with distinct seasons, (notably winter) a celebration such as Thanksgiving is quite common to hold in order to give thanks for the bounty of food and to get together as a community. What do you think Oktoberfest is celebrating?
When it comes to family togetherness and good food, no holiday has it all quite like Thanksgiving. It is tradition to have a stuffed turkey, vegetables from the late harvest such as carrots, potatoes, pumpkin and other squashes, many different types of pie and various other things. For many, the food is the main event! Unlike in the U.S.A. which, unless you are in the southern states and thus not really experiencing winter as the rest of the country does, when Canadian Thanksgiving falls many of the harvest food can still be picked from the field or tree.
While not the type of holiday that would see parties in the streets or other public spectacles, Thanksgiving can be a time when people return home to see family and friends much as they would at Christmas time. Private parties mark the typical Thanksgiving fare, but some people go with others to pick apples or other seasonal food as part of their personal tradition.
If you are travelling during this time to Canada, count yourself lucky if you get invited to someone’s home for their Thanksgiving celebration as it means they really like you (or, in Canadian fashion, they’re just trying to be polite). Bring a dessert, such as an apple or pumpkin pie or see if you can arrive early to offer your assistance in the kitchen – but don’t be surprised if your assistance is denied on account of you being a guest.
For many Canadians, this marks the last holiday until the Christmas season so many try to make the most of it. It offers them a chance to do some final outdoor non-snow related activities; maybe one last chance to be outside on their decks or watching the leaves change and fall – usually something relaxing.
Thanksgiving in Canada always falls on the second Monday in October but many people celebrate on the Sunday for dinner (or whenever is convenient for their guests). Monday thus becomes a statutory holiday where most businesses are closed, so be aware if you are travelling in Canada during this time!