Monday, October 13, 2008

While our friends in the United States observe Columbus Day, Canadians up north are celebrating Thankgiving. Canadians celebrate the harvest festival the second weekend in October because of the earlier harvest.

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.

The 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 Northern America. 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.

At the same time, French settlers who settled in what is now called Quebec, 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.

Many Canadians have their Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, as we do. It gives us the Monday following to digest it all! Below are some photos of our celebration yesterday at my parents' house. Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!
Everyone gathers around the dining room table for a big, hearty meal.
Most people can't stand them, but my grandmother loves her brussels sprouts and helps herself to a steaming spoonful.
Apple and pumpkin pies baked by my grandmother.

After dinner, my little nephew put on a puppet show. He made the set and the puppets and called the show "My Crazy Thanksgiving." It involved a pizza delivery man, a French chauffeur, a postman and a turkey that ran away with the spoon.

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