Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Unlike
the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New
World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season
falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple
fact that Canada is further north.
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
In the year 1578, he held a formal
ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving
the long journey. This is considered
the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers
arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic
Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.
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 Indian neighbours.
After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the citizens of Halifax held a
special day of Thanksgiving.
During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England
moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the
American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the
two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie.
Eventually in 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving
and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for
Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd 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
Finally, on January 31st, 1957, 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.