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Canadian vs. American Thanksgiving

As Americans are just starting to enjoy the Autumn festivities, Canadians are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in October. So what’s the history behind Canadian Thanksgiving? In 1578, more than 40 years before the American pilgrims, English explorer Martin Frobisher held the first Thanksgiving celebration by a European in North America in Newfoundland. He and his crew were giving thanks for their safe return from a treacherous exploration of the Northwest Passage. Some people, mainly Americans have argued that Frobisher’s Thanksgiving doesn’t count as the first Thanksgiving because a proper Thanksgiving is officially held in gratitude for a good harvest, not for surviving a dangerous icy hellscape. But, fighting about who held Thanksgiving first would be against the holiday spirit. Instead let’s explore the differences between U.S. Thanksgiving and Canadian Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving feastChristmas Decorations

Since Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, they get to put up Christmas decorations a two months early. In the U.S. Christmas decorations go up after Thanksgiving. In Canada the lights and wreaths start showing up the day after Halloween, if not before.

No Three Day Recovery

Monday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, but it’s expected that you can have Thanksgiving dinner at any point during the weekend. Unlike Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. which is celebrated on a Thursday and most people don’t have to go back to work until the following Monday.

Thanksgiving Day is a Big Deal in the U.S.

Canadians see Thanksgiving as a time to visit with family and friends, but they’re not as likely to travel across the country to celebrate with family as people in the U.S. would. In some areas of Canada Thanksgiving isn’t as important and Canadians are more low-key about it.

thanksgivingThanksgiving Dinner

The food served at American and Canadian Thanksgivings are similar. Turkey is usually eaten in for Thanksgiving in Canada, but some choose to eat ham or chicken. The turkey is usually accompanied by stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, gravy and veggies. Pumpkin pie is the standard dessert.

Fall Sports

Canadians watch football on Thanksgiving as do Americans. The Canadian Football League hosts the Thanksgiving Day Classic which is a double header that airs on national TV.

Black Friday

Canadians don’t have a huge shopping day following their Thanksgiving like Americans do. But, Canadians have started to pick on American Black Friday, as well as Cyber Monday. Canadian retailers have started offering discounts on Black Friday, too.

Annual Traditions  

Long walks outdoors are an annual Thanksgiving tradition for Canadians. Since Thanksgiving is in mid-October in Canada, the weather is perfect for walking during this time of the year. In the U.S. it would be cold to do outdoorsy stuff on Thanksgiving.

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