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Canadian Thanksgiving: Are You A Proud Canadian Kid?

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Canada is a beautiful country at any time of the year, but is particularly breathtaking in the fall when Thanksgiving occurs. In autumn, leaves turn spectacular colours - red, orange, yellow and brown - and fall to the earth as trees prepare for winter. The leaves are so brilliant as to appear almost neon in colour! Kids in Canada love to make leaf piles and jump in them. The air is cool and crisp. Everything seems sharper and clearer.

Canadian Thanksgiving is held the second Monday in October, unlike American Thanksgiving, which falls in November. Some people believe this is because Canada, being farther north, has an earlier harvest. Others think that having Thanksgiving in November interfered with Remembrance Day, a day set apart each year on November 11 to remember those who died in wars. At any rate, deciding to have Thanksgiving in October when the weather is still warm enough for Canadians to enjoy the outdoors was a great idea!

Thanksgiving in Canada provides an opportunity for Canadians to give thanks for having the good fortune to live in a bountiful, free country, and to celebrate that day by feasting with family and friends.

How Much Do You Know About Canadian Thanksgiving?

True or False:

  1. Canadian Thanksgiving is about Pilgrims and a ship called The Mayflower.
  2. The famous English explorer, Martin Frobisher, conducted the first Canadian Thanksgiving service on the shores of Newfoundland in 1578.
  3. Canadian Thanksgiving is based on the Order of Good Cheer established by Samuel de Champlain.

If you answered False to all three, you are correct! First of all, the story of the Pilgrims, who came to Massachusetts aboard their ship, The Mayflower, is an American legend. It is a lovely story, but it has nothing to do with Canadian Thanksgiving.

Second, Martin Frobisher never set foot on the shores of Newfoundland! He led prayers aboard the "Judith" when a storm in July separated the ship from the rest of Frobisher's fleet. And he did indeed lead a prayer when the surviving parts of the expedition reached Countess of Warwick Island, in August. According to the various logs and diaries, it was not accompanied by a special meal. Was it a first Canadian Thanksgiving? Well, it was the first English prayer service in North America. And we can characterize it however we want.

Thirdly, the Order of Good Cheer existed, but it likely had little, if anything, to do with Canadian Thanksgiving. The truth of the matter is that Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced back to Ontario in the mid 1880s. The Protestant clergy successfully lobbied the Canadian government to create Canada's first, national Thanksgiving in 1859.

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