Why Canadians Celebrate Thanksgiving Differently

It’s that time of year again. Soon enough, we’ll all be stuffing turkeys...and ourselves. However, for our neighbors up North, the holiday’s already passed.

In Canada, Thanksgiving was first observed in the year 1578 by the explorer Martin Frobisher, and was originally established to give thanks to God for his safe travels. But now, rather than commemorating Frobisher’s journey to the New World or acknowledging the “friendship” between pilgrims and Native Americans like in the US, it’s simply a feast meant to celebrate the bountiful harvest. And because autumn comes more quickly in Canada due to its geography, it’s no surprise that the Canadian Parliament would choose an earlier date for the holiday. It’s also not considered a federal holiday, so participation is optional. However, most people do still have Thanksgiving vacation.

Canadian Thanksgiving, also known as L’Action de grâce, falls on the second Monday of October. And other than the date, it’s remarkably similar to Thanksgivings that are held in the US. Everyone gets together with family, preparing many fall foods such as turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. They have football games, parades, and so many other things to be thankful for.