Canadian Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving

In Canada, Thanksgiving was celebrated on Monday, October 9. Since Providence’s student body is over 10% Canadian, many are curious as to how this holiday is celebrated across the border. One student was able to return home for the holiday, while the remaining students put on their own Thanksgiving celebration. Providence alumnus, Lorah Gleas0n, has traditionally hosted the dinner at the homes of her extended family. This year was no different and the Providence Canadian’s gathered at Gleason’s aunt’s house in Chino on Sunday afternoon to enjoy a scrumptious dinner of turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and of course, pumpkin pie.

Many questions have arisen as to the similarities and differences of Thanksgiving in Canada and the US. The actual celebration of the holiday does not differ much at all. Canadians get together with family, eat all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, and contemplate what they are thankful for. In both countries, Thanksgiving weekend is also a popular time to travel, especially to visit relatives in other places.

There are, however, several interesting differences. The history of the Thanksgiving holiday is different in Canada and the US. Americans trace the history of Thanksgiving back to a harvest feast shared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in 1621. There is no specific event in Canada, instead the holiday is based on the long-standing traditions of giving thanks for harvest and its bounty by First Nations  tribes. In the US, Thanksgiving has been celebrated annually on a national level since 1863, while it came several years later in 1879 in Canada. Another difference is that Canadian Thanksgiving comes over a month earlier than the holiday in the US. In 1942, Roosevelt designated the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, while in Canada the designated day has been the second Monday in October since 1957. Thus Americans get a 4 or 5-day weekend and Canadians only a 3-day weekend. In the US, Thanksgiving also has connections to football and the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. In contrast, the biggest shopping day in Canada is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.