Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

bon temps
Public Domain The order of good cheer

It's a holiday up north of the border, Canadian Thanksgiving. It isn't as big a deal as it is in the States; it is not even celebrated in the Maritime provinces and is just a day off work in Quebec. But it's probably the greenest holiday, being really nothing more than a celebration of the harvest.

It doesn't have quite the back-story of American thanksgiving. Some claim it started in 1578 when Martin Frobisher landed in the Canadian Arctic; Others claim it was Samuel de Champlain in 1604, who liked to keep his crew happy with the Order of Good Cheer. What probably really happened is all those Loyalists who came north after the American Revolution brought the tradition with them.

The date bounced around too, usually in November around the time of American Thanksgiving. Then after World War 1, which was a much longer and bigger deal for Canadians than Americans, with a much higher proportion of the population killed (Canada fought for four years), it was merged into Remembrance Day on November 11. This was a bad idea, mixing a harvest festival of thanks with the most solemn non-religious day of the year, so after a decade Thanksgiving was moved to October so that it wouldn't be too close to either November 11 or Christmas. It was finally fixed as the second Monday in October in 1957. What started as a harvest celebration was now a bit early, with farmers still hard at work; One prominent politician complained that "the farmers' own holiday has been stolen by the towns" to give them a long weekend when the weather was better."

Emma Alter/CC BY 2.0

Really, Premier Drury was right; it is a harvest celebration, celebrating the bounty of the earth, a truly green holiday. Most people do just that; it's celebrated with no big sales, no version of Black Friday, just food, friends and family. We like it that way.

Tags: Holidays

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