Thanksgiving is celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of the world. At this time of year, people in many countries give thanks for the successful conclusion of another agricultural season and for their health and prosperity.
The first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks not so much for the local harvest, but mostly for safely arriving to the New World.
Over the next few hundred years, Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November. It was eventually declared in 1879 a national Canadian holiday, with Nov. 6 being the official Thanksgiving Day. Following the World Wars, however, Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) and Thanksgiving kept falling in the same week. To prevent this overlap, the Canadian Parliament announced on Jan. 31, 1957 that from then on, every second Monday in October would be a day of Thanksgiving celebration for Canada’s plentiful harvest.
This year, Thanksgiving falls on Oct. 10. We celebrate with family and friends, over a special feast, as we give thanks for all the good and prosperity in our lives. A traditional meal is a turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, squash, wild rice, yams, and for dessert, pumpkin pie.
Test your knowledge of Canada’s Thanksgiving traditions by taking this quiz based on information from Pearson Adult Learning Centre:
1. Thanksgiving is celebrated the same everywhere. True of false?
2. The general reason for observing Thanksgiving is similar in most countries. True or false?
3. Canada’s earliest Thanksgiving celebration occurred in 1578, as Martin Frobisher wanted to give thanks primarily for: a. the harvest; b. his safe arrival to the New World; c. the great weather.
4. The origin of the American Thanksgiving celebration is the same as Canada’s Thanksgiving origin. True or false?
5. The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated every second Monday in October, while the Americans celebrate this holiday every: a. first Monday in January; b. third Friday in November; c. fourth Thursday in November.
Answers: 1. false, 2. true, 3. b, 4. false, 5. c.