My Thanksgiving is Different from Yours

CorkscrewAnnie
6 min readNov 23, 2023

In which the author offers a public service announcement for foreign readers

Wicker basket wreathed with orange and yellow leaves (background); fall harvest vegetables — pumpkin, squash, onions, potatoes, beets, yams, cabbage and apples (foreground)
Image by Sabrina Ripke from Pixabay

This week, the US television that permeates our cultural environment here (north of the 49th parallel) is just chock full of THANKSGIVING. Yes, all in capital letters, shouting, second only to the attention that is apparently due to Black Friday Sales. (That’s a different rant.)

So in the interests of North American cultural harmony and enlightenment, I offer my American readers this quick guide to some of the ways that YOUR Thanksgiving is different from mine.

1. History

Our Thanksgiving in Canada predates the U.S. celebration by more than 40 years. As told by the website Canada’s History:

As the story goes, in 1578, English explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks and communion was observed, either on land at Frobisher Bay, in present day Nunavut, or onboard a ship anchored there. The explorers dined on salt beef, biscuits, and mushy peas and gave thanks through Communion for their safe arrival in then Newfoundland. This is now accepted as the first “Canadian” Thanksgiving, forty-three years before the first “American” Thanksgiving.

A griege background with three cutout felt figures: a turkey (left), a grey ball with legs and a pilgrim hat (centre), and three pumpkins (right). Two pilgrim hats, on the turkey and on the grey ball in the centre, are “X”d out with big red X symbols.
Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay, with apologies from the author for Xing out the pilgrim hats

2. Pilgrims

There are no renegade Christian sects associated with Canadian Thanksgiving. On the contrary, the roots of the celebration are much older and more related to practices of the traditional people who have lived in this territory for thousands of years. Again, from the website:

Traditions of giving thanks long predate the arrival of European settlers in North America. First Nations across Turtle Island have traditions of thanksgiving for surviving winter and for receiving crops and game as a reward for their hard work. These traditions may include feasting, prayer, dance, potlatch, and other ceremonies, depending on the peoples giving thanks.

3. The Date

We did Thanksgiving back on the first Monday of October. No four day weekends, no extra football.

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CorkscrewAnnie

Recreational writer, collector of antique corkscrews, urban gardener and retired management consultant to social profit organizations. Proudly Canadian.