Thanksgiving Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Each year Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a bountiful feast but how many Canadians actually know the true history of Thanksgiving?After our most recent Thanksgiving celebration, I was asked by an individual in another country what was the reason why we celebrated the occasion and what the meaning was. Failing an answer and feeling like a complete idiot, I immediately looked to the Internet to look up why we celebrated this special occasion. How embarrassing it was that I could not answer such a simple question of the most celebrated holiday.
Thanksgiving traditions began hundreds of years ago, back when the explorers first came to our land and brought with them the tradition from Europe.
At harvest time, farmers in Europe celebrated and gave thanks for a bountiful harvest and would often fill a goat's horn with fruit and grains. This was known as a Thanksgiving cornucopia or horn of good plenty.
The first North American Thanksgiving is traced back to 1578. Martin Frobisher, an English Navigator, held a formal ceremony in what is now called Newfoundland. This ceremony was held to give thanks for surviving the long journey across the Atlantic.
After crossing the ocean and forty years later, French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain in Nova Scotia would hold huge feasts of thanks. They formed the "Order of Good Cheer."
In 1621 the American pilgrims gave thanks for the bounty that ended a year of hardship and death. It was at this time when the "turkey" made its first appearance at the feast.
Canadian Thanksgiving was first celebrated as a national holiday on November 6, 1879. However, there was no set date for this celebration and many dates were used after that. Finally in 1957, Parliament proclaimed the second Monday of October as "a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."
Families and friends across Canada celebrate the special occasion with a feast that includes turkey, gravy, vegetables and pumpkin pie.
On this day we should not forget all that we have to be thankful for. Not only should we be thankful for the food we have, but for the wonderful friends and family we are blessed with. Take this special day and say "thank you" to these wonderful people for blessing your life with their love, support and joy. Thank you gift baskets are a fabulous way to show your appreciation.
Since the first Thanksgiving was celebrated, we have so much more to give thanks for. Take a look around and you will see how truly blessed you are!