Canadian Thanksgiving: How it compares to America’s holiday


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — As American’s gear up for their annual Thanksgiving feast, Canadian are looking back on theirs, as the celebration of gratitude is held in mid-October.

Typically, Canadian Thanksgiving is held during the second weekend of October, aligning with the American Columbus Day holiday weekend. But instead of feasting on a Thursday, Canadians celebrate on a Monday.

Aside from celebrating the “day of thanks” on a different day, there are several other distinctions between American and Canadian Thanksgiving.

To start, the “first” Canadian Thanksgiving was said to occur in 1578 when an English explorer named Martin Frobisher held the first celebration after making a safe return from the Northwest Passage. Others argue that the first “Thanksgiving” was held by indigenous peoples as they typically gave thanks for good harvests in the fall.

Thanksgiving began being celebrated sporadically in the 17th and 18th centuries. It became more of a regular holiday in the 19th century and was formalized as a national holiday in 1879.

This holiday is celebrated on a national scale, but it is considered more “low-key” than American Thanksgiving. It is a day focused on spending time with family and friends. Some citizens, particularly in Quebec, choose not to celebrate at all. It is also not followed by a day of shopping, like the American Black Friday.

But if you are attending a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration this October, you can still expect a feast of food. This can include many “classic” Thanksgiving dishes, but also potentially some unfamiliar Canadian staples.

For example, the centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table may still be a turkey, but it may be glazed with maple syrup or apple cider. Additional protein may include ham or smoked salmon. For the sides, classics include Brussel sprouts, maple glazed carrots, creamed corn, poutine, cranberry sauce, or sweet potato dinner rolls.

And not to forget about dessert, apple and pumpkin pies will typically be served fresh, but Canadians will also prepare their classic butter tarts. This is a small pastry that consists of butter, sugar filling.

Although Monday, October 11 is the official day of Thanksgiving in Canada, many of these meals may already have been eaten earlier this weekend.

On Monday, many will watch the Canadian Football League’s Thanksgiving Day Classic and enjoy the off from work.

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