August 2018 - Thanks Giving day 2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

Did Canada have the first Thanksgiving?

August 31, 2018 0
Did Canada have the first Thanksgiving?
Did Canada have the first Thanksgiving?

Quick history of the first Thanksgiving in Canada

The first European Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Newfoundland when English explorer Martin Frobisher landed there in 1578 in his quest for the Northwest Passage.
He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival in the New World. This was 42 years before the Pilgrims landed in what is now Plymouth, Mass.
Although many Thanksgiving holidays were subsequently celebrated, it was not declared a national holiday until 1879.
From 1921 to 1931, Armistice Day (later renamed Remembrance Day) and Thanksgiving were marked on the same date. The two events were then separated, but the timing of Thanksgiving varied.
In 1957, the second Monday of October was set as the consistent date for Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
In 2017 Canadians consumed 142 million kilograms (312.4 million pounds) of turkey or 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) per capita.
About 35 per cent of all whole turkeys purchased in Canada in 2012 were for Thanksgiving, but 44 per cent were bought at Christmas.
Fossils indicate wild turkeys have roamed North American for more than 10 million years.

Canada and America may argue over who was the first to hold a harvest festival, but both countries’ approaches to the national holiday are similar

Christine Sismondo’s Canadian Moments series looks at what history can teach us about a current moment in Canadian news, politics, or culture. Read more of her columns here.
This time last year, the New York Times—and its many readers—discovered a quaint little tradition that many Americans had never heard of: Canadian Thanksgiving.
Some of the confusion over our version of the holiday stems from the fact that we celebrate it six weeks earlier than they do—and on their Columbus Day holiday, to boot. Most of it, however, is surely owing to the fact that Americans feel ownership over this holiday, believing it grew, organically, out of a specific historical event that took place on “American” soil. After all, the Plymouth Rock story, which frames a congenial harvest feast shared by Wampanoag peoples and the Pilgrim settlers in November 1621 as America’s first Thanksgiving, is taught early and often.
In response, on occasion, some defensive writers and apologists have countered the implication that we are pale imitators of the U.S. or mere holiday rip-off artists, and people have pointed to Canadian antecedents to demonstrate our authentic connection. Some cite a celebratory meal held by Martin Frobisher upon his arrival in 1578, but since that involved tinned beef and mushy peas, that feels like a stretch. More germane than this story is the meaty celebration hosted by Samuel de Champlain in Port-Royal on Nov. 14, 1606, which saw Europeans and Indigenous peoples breaking bread together. It was organized as part of the “Order of Good Cheer” dinner party series that was invented to make sure the colonists ate and drank enough to stave off scurvy and malnutrition.
It’s possible that the only reason any settlers even survived at all was owing to the help of the Mi’kmaq, who had taught them ice-fishing techniques and introduced them to a vital non-toxic berry rich in vitamin C. In return, the French colonists invited some Mi’kmaq men to the November 14 celebration, which included not just food and drink, but also musket-firing and the first European play ever performed in North America, Marc Lescarbot’s Théâtre de Neptune. The plot was simple: The God of Neptune congratulated the explorers on their sailing prowess—and then the Indigenous people swore total allegiance to the newcomers, acknowledging the sovereignty of the Europeans.
Things didn’t get any better after that. Smallpox plagues, Christian conversions and treaty violations followed, as did an all-out war over Halifax, which the Mi’kmaq had never ceded to Europeans. Governor Edward Cornwallis responded to this land claim by offering a bounty for scalps, which is one reason his controversial statue, erected in Halifax in 1931, was shrouded this summer amidst calls for it be removed.

Why you would want this particular story to be the foundation of a national holiday is mystifying, especially since the modern version of Canadian Thanksgiving in no way grew out of that early dinner theatre incident. Thanksgiving didn’t really take hold in Canada until the 19th century, which, surprisingly, is also when it became a popular tradition in the United States. For about 250 years after the mythical Plymouth Rock event—a controversial story that some argue should be marked as a day of mourning since, among other things, the new settlement was on the site of a region decimated by plague brought on by European contact—Thanksgiving was a minor, loose, regional tradition that was celebrated on whatever day local authorities picked, in the states where anyone even bothered with it at all (New England, mainly).
It might never have franchised out and come to take on such cultural significance if it weren’t for Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a women’s magazine that promoted abolition, white wedding dresses, Christmas trees, a focus on the family, domestic science and the elevation of Thanksgiving to a national holiday with a set, universal date, so that the entire nation could pray and celebrate together. In Hale’s 1827 novel, Northwood, the characters debate the future of Thanksgiving, with one articulating its political significance: “We want it as the exponent of our Republican institutions, which are based on the acknowledgment that God is our Lord, and that, as a nation, we derive our privileges and blessings from Him.”
Towards the end of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and William H. Seward, then the secretary of state, were finally swayed by Hale’s arguments and declared a national day of Thanksgiving, which they hoped would help heal factions, unite the country, and establish the northeast as the moral compass and leader of the country. The mythological Plymouth Rock story, which emphasizes manifest destiny, hard work, community and the value of local institutions, was eventually attached to the nation-building holiday.
Meanwhile, politicians and businessmen in Upper Canada and other colonies had similar problems to the kind Seward and Lincoln had faced, since nation-building was on the agenda for those trying to push Confederation. Although the scheme was essentially a free-trade pact, Canada needed an identity, and the prevailing concept was a white Protestant nation that would marginalize the claims of Indigenous peoples and other immigrants from Asia and Europe. In the 1860s, “Canada First,” an organization that promoted that vision of Canadian identity and called for cultural institutions like Thanksgiving to support a white Protestant Canada that celebrated farm, family and religious devotion, was established. And in 1865, for example, the Globe and Mailran an editorial calling for prayers to thank “Divine Providence” for the “special favours vouchsafed to our country during the past season,” which included a good harvest and the end of a decade of economic turmoil. It also called for a standardization of services across the country to give it a more “national character,” so that the impact of the prayers could be greater. The country that prays together, after all, stays together.
In his paper, “‘Righteousness Exalteth the Nation’: Religion, Nationalism, and Thanksgiving Day in Ontario, 1859-1914,” historian Peter Stevens says that in Ontario, sermons for Canadian Thanksgiving—the date of which shifted until it was decided around the turn of the last century that outdoor sports should be part of the festivities, and November was too cold—sermons often focused on Canada’s moral superiority to the United States. Since religious leaders believed that Canada never had slavery (it did, of course, which Stevens points out), they argued that Canada was the real chosen land; the U.S., after all, had recently been punished for its slaveholding past with a devastating civil war.
With great blessings come great responsibilities, though, and one of the most important of these was spreading Christianity to the Indigenous, which was the subject of an 1885 Thanksgiving sermon delivered in Winnipeg by Rev. Charles Bruce Pitblado. Inspired by the recent North-West Rebellion and the execution of Louis Riel, he thanked God for the victories but argued that the work of “reconstructing society” would involve a shift that made dealing with the “Indians” as “recognized settlers” imperative. The country’s future “peace and prosperity” relied on a national resolve to “Christianize and civilize the Indian”—in other words, cultural genocide through residential schools.
This new paternalistic, assimilationist phase in settler-Indigenous relations wasn’t entirely without criticism, demonstrated by an 1890 feature in the Globe and Maillamenting the slow death of the seven-day ritual of Thanksgiving feasts central to the Haudenosaunee culture, which was waning as a result of the increasing numbers of “Christianized Indians” who no longer took part in these “pagan” customs. That writer observed that these Thanksgiving feasts, which involved religious observance, visiting each other’s houses, feasting and war dances, had been in existence from the time the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was first organized—a vague reference at the time that is still the subject of some debate, but thought to pre-date the Frobisher exploration by at least a century.
This, of course, alludes to the thing that so many people seem willfully blind to in the debate about who had Thanksgiving-style gatherings first: that they were well-established long before Europeans ever got here. Specific rituals differ from region to region, of course, but festivals that saw people expressing thanks for the bounty of the land are a common feature of most pre-contact societies in Canada and the United States.
This may be starting to sound like an argument for the abolition of Thanksgiving, given that it is textbook cultural appropriation, one that’s been repeatedly used as a tool to promote political ideals, often tied to ideas of racial and cultural superiority. The flip side of Thanksgiving’s shaky foundation, though, is that, in its modern form, it’s an invented tradition—like all holidays, really—that’s been tied to all manner of mythical stories to promote whatever vision of national or cultural identity needed at the time. That means it can be re-invented again to mean what we need it to mean now.
Since the United States has thoroughly taken ownership of it as a founding myth for its nation-building project, to the point that it’s practically eclipsed Canadian Thanksgiving, we could make the holiday our own by using it in a totally different way. A good start would be to acknowledge that Europe had pre-contact harvest feast traditions of their own, but to stop pretending Europeans invented Thanksgiving in Canada or the United States and, instead, consider how to repurpose the holiday to redress historical wrongs—and imagine a new Canadian identity.
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By how much will Stephen Harper raise the price of your Thanksgiving turkey?
What students are talking about today (October 9 edition)
Recovery? You bet.
Now that their dinner is really ruined 
Veldon Coburn teaches Indigenous Studies at Carleton University and is a PhD candidate in the department of political studies at Queen’s University. His research and writing focuses on Indigenous politics and policy.
One might be forgiven for believing that the death of Indigenous communities is unavoidable. It is a familiar trope in Canadian national mythology: Indigenous people are expected to inevitably blend into settler society, one way or another. Recently, Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore suggested that the “fundamental laws of economics” that has prompted the death of small-town Canada is also coming for Indigenous communities, dying not through coercive state measures but rather at the hands of economic influences and trends.
It’s a calculus of community survival that draws a straight causal line from the economy to life. And based on what we know about impoverished conditions in many First Nations, Inuit hamlets, and Métis settlements, we should then resign ourselves to their imminent death and move to a city.
But Gilmore’s account overlooks significantly greater forces at work in the demise of Indigenous communities—namely, the iron fist of the colonial state. Indeed, the market-driven thesis of dying towns, juxtaposed against thriving cities, ignores how economic conditions of Indigenous communities has been—and continues to be—the outcome of colonial policy.
The fundamental laws of economics, after all, do not apply in the relations between the colonizer and the colonized. The poverty of Indigenous communities is contrived by the colonial state, not the neat market-clearing results expected from neoclassical economic theory. In fact, it is difficult to identify the necessary conditions of laissez-faire markets that underwrite Gilmore’s view in these internal colonies, because—to use the economic vernacular—the colonial Crown controls a near-monopoly over the economic conditions on reserves and other Indigenous communities, and it’s often done hand-in-hand with private industry.
Furthermore, when mainstream commercial interests clash with Indigenous title and rights, the Crown has frequently sided with the former, despite the fiduciary duty owed to the latter.
In 2014, for instance, the Crown granted licenses to foreign corporations based out of the United States and Norway to undertake seismic testing for oil and gas exploration in Nunavut, ignoring Inuit concerns about the negative impact this development would have on their internal economies. But after a legal challenge mounted by the tiny Inuit hamlet of Clyde River, its mayor Jerry Natanine, and the Nammautaq Hunters & Trappers Organization, the Supreme Court of Canada sided with the Inuit and put a stop to the project. In its decision last year, the SCC noted that the Crown had failed to observe and respect Aboriginal rights and Inuit treaty rights.
Crown corporations also have a history of pursuing economic activities that meet the consumption demands of cities, but leave rural and remote Indigenous communities to bear much of the costs. On the west coast, a number of Treaty 8 First Nations have filed a civil suit as well as an application for an injunction against BC Hydro, the province, and the federal government to stop the Site C dam construction project. The BC First Nations that are party to the suit argue that the Site C project violates their treaty rights to their internal economic activities, including rights to fish, hunt, and trap as they did before entering the treaty with the Crown.
On the east coast, a similar Crown corporation has drawn the ire of Indigenous peoples. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Innu and Inuit have protested Nalcor Energy’s development of the Lower Churchill Project, especially the expansion at Muskrat Falls. Innu and Inuit communities adjacent to the massive hydroelectric project are resisting the expansion, arguing that the Crown corporation will flood over 40 square kilometres of their territory and that their land and water will be contaminated by methylmercury. For the Indigenous people of the region, the land and the Churchill River have sustained the resources and activities of their own economies for thousands of years—yet the survival of their communities has seemed to be a distant priority compared to Nalcor’s industrial growth.
In sharp contrast, however, when Indigenous peoples engage in their own economic trade and exchange—the sort of practices undertaken since time immemorial—the Crown is often quick to intervene and dash those efforts. First Nations in British Columbia have won a number of court battles with the Department of Fisheries and Ocean over their rights to commercial fishing, even though earlier this month, officials from the same department were quick to come down on the First Nations sockeye salmon fishery opening on the Fraser River. In a media blitz, authorities from DFO warned the public that it would prosecute anyone selling or buying fish caught by the Indigenous fishery; in the same public outreach, the DFO officials were keen to note that a legitimate fishery would open a mere three days later.
What’s more, the Crown has shored up its economic monopoly over Indigenous communities with its monopoly on inflicting pain on these communities. Speaking at a meeting of the Alberta Enterprise Group, a business-sector advocacy body, then-natural resources minister Jim Carr remarked that the government would consider the use of its military to ensure the completion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which was purchased by the federal government for $4.5 billion, and which would impact approximately 120 First Nations.
Meanwhile, the government is picking up Giant Mine’s $900-million remediation bill while refusing to compensate for the adverse health effects that the mine has caused for the Dene. And the damage of the Mount Polley mine disaster has yet to be tallied, but the provincial government has already indicated it will not pursue environmental charges and the clock on the federal statutory limitation period for similar charges has waned to less than a year. And these stories are familiar to the good people of Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) and Aamjiwnaang First Nation (situated right next door to Sarnia’s Chemical Valley), who have been ignored by environmental ministries and borne the costs of government and industry in their drive for private profit despite urgings from Indigenous people and their communities that their fight is about survival.
Yes, some government and private-business initiatives, have received formal support from some Indigenous communities; the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion, for instance, has been supported by more than 40 First Nation band councils and the Métis Nation of Alberta. Still, it would be a mistake to view Indigenous-led environmental protests that are going on—the sort alluded to by Carr, seen in recent years in Elsipogtog, and within some of the communities that have endorsed the pipeline—as resistance to economic prosperity. These actions are instead protesting the burden shouldered by First Nations for the economic externalities and negative spillovers that subsidize industry.
When it comes to the life or death of Indigenous communities, the colonial state has long influenced matters. Indigenous communities have long had to beg for the crumbs from the table, after non-Indigenous industry—abetted by federal, provincial, and even city governments—has feasted on the wealth extracted from the Indigenous hinterland.
It is not merely neutral economic forces that are causing these communities to have to consider the difficult question of leaving. It is difficult to conclude that the death of any Indigenous community is by truly natural causes.


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University of Victoria’s Indigenous law degree is a world first
Monte Solberg is a principal at New West Public Affairs. He was a member of Parliament for the riding of Medicine Hat for the Reform Party from 1993 to 2000, for the Canadian Alliance from 2000 to 2003, and for the Conservative Party from 2003 to 2008, for whom he served as minister of citizenship and immigration and of human resources and social development.
Did Canada have the first Thanksgiving?
In about 2006, I held a fundraiser with Maxime Bernier at the home of a wealthy Ottawa businessman. It went well, and we were told that we should take our Alberta-Quebec act on the road. At the time, I was the new immigration minister, and he was this dashing young libertarian industry minister from Quebec, and he was just fun to work with. That’s the Max I know, the Max I liked as a colleague. That was the Max I quietly supported for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada last year.
After all, Maxime has the entire Swiss Army knife set of political tools. He is warm, friendly and charming in both official languages, with a ready laugh. He runs marathons and looks great doing it. Unlike his early years, he knows most of the issues and comments on them knowledgeably. Most important of all, he is idealistic. Believing you’re there to accomplish something important is what gets politicians through the inevitable storms.
But everything changed after he came within a hair of winning the Conservative leadership. Since then, he has been signalling his unhappiness. For months, Max has been on political palliative care with a note pinned to his chest that said do not resuscitate—allegedly written in his own hand, though we can’t be sure. If he hadn’t pulled the plug himself as he did on Aug. 23, announcing he would be quitting the Tories to start his own splinter party, foul play would have been suspected, and the entire Conservative caucus would have been hauled in for questioning.
It’s not as though the leadership race’s winner, Andrew Scheer, had done anything wrong. His whole strategy was to be steady and non-threatening, and month by month, the party gained in the polls. So apart from being miffed about losing, Max’s sniping didn’t make sense, and it didn’t reflect well.
READ MORE: Why Scheer values unity, and Bernier plays the loner
He has used Twitter and his blog to push policy ideas and to provoke, which annoyed his colleagues—even the ones who supported his leadership bid. He was not going to fall quietly into line like other leadership contenders had done. He was going to demonstrate that he was the gallant warrior for freedom, and that he would outshine Scheer by pointing out all the ways that the party wasn’t conservative enough.
For a while, his legions of supporters even cheered him on. For instance, he took on Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes and the sanctimony of some of her own tweets. But the whole while, it was clear that he had one foot in the caucus and one foot out. He had written a book that was critical of Scheer for recruiting dairy supporters in Quebec who are “fake conservatives,” and after promising not to, he published an excerpt on his website. The caucus—the party’s leader and his colleagues—was furious. At that point, his demise may have been fated. The infamous diversity tweets came last, gifting the Liberals an opportunity to paint Conservatives as intolerant—and then came his press conference where he accused his peers of corruption and not being conservative enough.
READ MORE: If the Conservatives showcase their team—rather than the leader—they can win
It’s obvious now that other things were at play: Max just couldn’t accept he had been bested by Andrew Scheer, the man he just described as being weak. And now, he is doomed to be like Winston Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph, who famously resigned his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Salisbury, believing his base of support in the House of Commons would position him to be the next prime minister—but fading away once he left the House and the caucus.
Monte Solberg, then the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, makes an announcement in 2008. (CMHC)
Bernier’s idealism, as he will surely soon discover, must be tempered by judgment in politics. And critically, these recent events indicate that he doesn’t seem to know when to wait, defer, deflect or compromise—all essential skills in politics. You can’t die on every hill. You need the wisdom to know when it is best to back away, no matter how tempting it would be to engage, because engaging might send the wrong message about priorities—and, lately, about whether you even understand the Canadian cast of mind.
Max was so desperate to be acknowledged as being right on the “limits of diversity” that he missed the larger point. Millions of Canadians who probably agree that there are limits to diversity still don’t want the matter dragged into the public square for vivisection; it is unseemly to do so. We all know that the subjugation of women is wrong, even if it is permitted in other cultures. But as most Conservatives know by now, these things should be handled gently and quietly, preferably by a woman, at the right time, and using the right language. Not all issues are equal. They can’t all be approached the same way.
But now Max says he is going to start his own party. Well, let’s just say he’s in tough. I’ve been through that a few times, after all; I’ve seen it up close.
READ MORE: Conservatives can win if they take aim at Liberal incompetence—not the culture wars
Preston Manning’s Reform Party started in 1987 but didn’t run a full slate of candidates until 1993, my first election. Preston and his tiny team crisscrossed the country searching for candidates, providing training and communicating in the form of monthly fireside chats sent out on cassette tapes. That’s how we learned the right tone and messaging in speaking to difficult issues while driving from church basement, to community hall, to kitchen table.
But in 1993, the Reform Party was brand new. In some ridings there were only a few members, meaning the more forceful personalities could easily push themselves forward as candidate material. As Preston often said of the Reform movement, a bright light attracts a lot of bugs. It turned out to be true.
As the 1993 election approached, the party’s executive council routinely disqualified aspiring candidates who had—shall we say—exotic beliefs. But they couldn’t root them all out. The candidate for York Centre in Toronto gave a mid-election interview to the CBC and said unfortunate things about immigrants. Preston immediately distanced himself—but it was too late. The Reform wave crested and then troughed in Ontario. Instead of winning several seats, we picked up just one. And that was before social media and today’s minute-by-minute scrutiny.
Imagine scores of outspoken candidates in the new Max Freedom Party, committed to unbridled free speech on any subject, commenting on immigration, diversity and abortion. To succeed, that party would soon find they needed to rein in candidates and keep them away from certain topics. In other words, it would become a party like the one Maxime just left.
As Waylon Jennings once sang: I’ve been a long time leaving, but I’ll be a long time gone. It will be a fitting political epitaph for Max. He has now departed his familiar political world—and I doubt that he has gone to a better place.


Cheer up, Conservatives: There’s a big silver lining for Bernier’s departure
Who belongs in the party of Maxime Bernier?
Maxime Bernier has bet the house on his narrow idea of Canadian values. He may be in for a nasty surprise
Mad Max might just pull this thing off
Paul Wells: Maxime Bernier reaches his logical conclusion

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Did Canada have the first Thanksgiving?

Where was the first Thanksgiving in North America?

August 31, 2018 0
Where was the first Thanksgiving in North America?
Where was the first Thanksgiving in North America?

The First Thanksgiving in North America

It has become common knowledge that the first Thanksgiving in North America was held by Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew in Newfoundland in 1578. There are those — mainly Americans upset by the thought of having their holiday co-opted — who argue that it wasn't a “real”” Thanksgiving. I would counter that Frobisher had reason to give thanks, and that giving thanks was an important aspect of Elizabethan society, so it would have been a natural thing for him and his men to do.
Sir Martin Frobisher, mariner, explorer, chaser of fool’s gold, made three voyages from England to the “New World” in search of a passage to Asia. He was the first European to discover the bay that is named for him and returned with tons of dirt that he thought contained gold. Each expedition was bigger than the preceding one and on his third, in 1578, he commanded a flotilla of 15 ships and more than 400 men. They set sail on 31 May for Baffin Island, where they intended to establish a gold mining operation and the first English colony in North America. On 1 July, they sighted Resolution Island, but they were driven by storms across the entrance to Hudson Strait. The fleet was dispersed and one ship, which carried their prefabricated barracks, was sunk by ice. Another ship deserted the flotilla and sailed back to England. The remaining ships assembled at the Countess of Warwick’s Island, which is known today as Kodlunarn Island, a tiny speck of land in Frobisher Bay. They established two mines on the island and set up shops to test the ore from other mines. The mine sites and the ruins of a stone house are still clearly visible.
Vicious storms blew the fleet around Hudson Strait for most of July and when they finally assembled at their anchorage in Frobisher Bay, they celebrated Communion and formally expressed their thanks through the ship’s Chaplain, Robert Wolfall, who “made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for theyr strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places” (Richard Collinson, The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher: In Search of a Passage to Cathaia and India by the North-West, Cambridge University Press, 
While Thanksgiving is traditionally a harvest celebration and Frobisher’s was for a safe arrival, it was undeniably an act of giving thanks, one committed with relief and within the context of their society. Frobisher sailed for Elizabeth I, whose reign was marked by public acts of giving thanks. Elizabeth expressed her gratitude for having lived to ascend the throne (and not being killed by “Bloody Mary”), for delivery from the Spanish Armada and, in her last speech to Parliament, for her subjects.
The first known use of the word “Thanksgiving” in English text was in a translation of the bible in 1533, which was intended as an act of giving thanks to God. The tradition of gratitude was continued each fall as people gave thanks for the harvest that would see them through the winter. The observance of this tradition was conducted by the Pilgrims’ first harvest in Massachusetts in 1621, and was as much an expression of gratitude and relief at having survived their arrival in the “New World” as it was for the bringing in of the harvest.
The celebration was brought to Nova Scotia in the 1750s and the citizens of Halifax commemorated the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 with a day of Thanksgiving. Loyalists carried the celebration to other parts of the country. In 1879, Parliament declared 6 November as a day of Thanksgiving; it was celebrated as a national rather than a religious holiday. Later and earlier dates were observed, the most popular being the third Monday in October. After the First World War, Thanksgiving and Armistice Day (later Remembrance Day) were celebrated in the same week. It was not until 31 January 1957 that Parliament proclaimed “a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed,” to be observed on the second Monday in October.

Thanksgiving in North America: From Local Harvests to National Holiday

Most Americans are familiar with the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving Feast of 1621, but few realize that it was not the first festival of its kind in North America. Long before Europeans set foot in the Americas, native peoples sought to insure a good harvest with dances and rituals such as the Green Corn Dance of the Cherokees.
The first Thanksgiving service known to be held by Europeans in North America occurred on May 27, 1578, in Newfoundland, although earlier Church-type services were probably held by Spaniards in La Florida. However, for British New England, some historians believe that the Popham Colony in Maine conducted a Thanksgiving service in 1607 (see Sources: Greif, 208-209; Gould, and Hatch). In the same year, Jamestown colonists gave thanks for their safe arrival, and another service was held in 1610 when a supply ship arrived after a harsh winter. Berkley Hundred settlers held a Thanksgiving service in accordance with their charter which stated that the day of their arrival in Virginia should be observed yearly as a day of Thanksgiving, but within a few years an Indian uprising ended further services (Dabney). Thus British colonists held several Thanksgiving services in America before the Pilgrim's celebration in 1621.
The Pilgrims, with a puritanical rejection of public religious display, held a non-religious Thanksgiving feast, aside from saying grace. In fact, they seem to have used the three days for feasting, playing games, and even drinking liquor.
In 1623, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts, held another day of Thanksgiving. As a drought was destroying their crops, colonists prayed and fasted for relief; the rains came a few days later. And not long after, Captain Miles Standish arrived with staples and news that a Dutch supply ship was on its way. Because of all this good fortune, colonists held a day of Thanksgiving and prayer on June 30. This 1623 festival appears to have been the origin of our Thanksgiving Day because it combined a religious and social celebration.

Where was the first Thanksgiving in North America?
Festivals of Thanksgiving were observed sporadically on a local level for more than 150 years. They tended to be autumn harvest celebrations. But in 1789, Elias Boudinot, Massachusetts, member of the House of Representatives, moved that a day of Thanksgiving be held to thank God for giving the American people the opportunity to create a Constitution to preserve their hard won freedoms. A Congressional Joint Committee approved the motion, and informed President George Washington. On October 3, 1789, the President proclaimed that the people of the United States observe "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer" on Thursday, the 26th of November.
The next three Presidents proclaimed, at most, two days of thanksgiving sometime during their terms of office, either on their own initiative or at the request of a joint Resolution of Congress. One exception was Thomas Jefferson, who believed it was a conflict of church and state to require the American people hold a day of prayer and thanksgiving. President James Madison proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to be held on April 13, 1815, the last such proclamation issued by a President until Abraham Lincoln did so in 1862.
Most of the credit for the establishment of an annual Thanksgiving holiday may be given to Sarah Josepha Hale. Editor of Ladies Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book, she began to agitate for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in the magazines. She also published stories and recipes, and wrote scores of letters to governors, senators, and presidents. After 36 years of crusading, she won her battle. On October 3, 1863, buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that November 26, would be a national Thanksgiving Day, to be observed every year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Only twice has a president changed the day of observation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in order to give depression-era merchants more selling days before Christmas, assigned the third Thursday to be Thanksgiving Day in 1939 and 1940. But he was met with popular resistance, largely because the change required rescheduling Thanksgiving Day events such as football games and parades. In 1941, a Congressional Joint Resolution officially set the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday for Thanksgiving.
Today, Thanksgiving is a time when many families come together, and many churches are open for special services. We have both Native Americans and immigrants to thank for the opportunity to observe a day of thanksgiving.
Bradford, William. Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650. Valerian Paget, ed. (New York: John McBride Co., 1909), and his Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647. Samuel Eliot. ed. (New York: Knopf, 1979.) Also, Bradford and Winslow. Mourt's Relation: Journall of the English Plantation at Plimoth. University Microfilms, Inc., 1966.
Greif, Martin. The Holiday Book. (New York: Universe Books, 1978).
Hatch, Jane M. The American Book of Days, 3rd ed. (New York: Wilson Co., 1978).
Linton, Ralph and Adelin. We Gather Together: The Story of Thanksgiving. (New York: Henry Schuman, 1949).
Myers, Robert. Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays. (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972).
Saturday Evening Post. "A Setting for the First Thanksgiving," by Virginius Dabney, 253 (November 1981), 12, 14, 88, 118; and "Who Says They Were First?" by John Gould, 231 (November 1958), 39, 112, 115-6.
Schaun, George and Virginia. American Holidays and Special Days. (Lanham: Maryland Historical Press, 1986).
Scherer, Margaret R. Thanksgiving and Harvest Festivals. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1942).
Sickel, H.S.J. Thanksgiving: Its Source, Philosophy, and History with all National Proclamations and Analytical Study Thereof. (Philadelphia: International Printing Co., 1940).

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Where was the first Thanksgiving in North America?

Why is Thanksgiving on different days in Canada and United State

August 31, 2018 0
Why is Thanksgiving on different days in Canada and United State
Why is Thanksgiving on different days in Canada and United State

Thanksgiving in USA

When is Thanksgiving in USA?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States of America.
Traditionally, this holiday celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest.

The tradition of Thanksgiving

The custom of giving thanks for the annual harvest is one of the world's oldest celebrations and can be traced back to the dawn of civilization.
However it is not commonly a major modern event and arguably the success of the American holiday has been due to it being seen as a time to give 'thanks' for the foundation of the nation and not just as a celebration of the harvest.
The American tradition of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621, when the pilgrims gave thanks for their first bountiful harvest in Plymouth Rock. They celebrated for three days, feasting with the natives on dried fruits, boiled pumpkin, turkey, venison and much more. This has come to be known as the first Thanksgiving.
The celebration, however, was not repeated until many years later, when in 1789 George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a national holiday on Thursday 26 November that year - setting the precedent of the last Thursday in November. Despite this, the holiday was celebrated on different days from state to state and Thomas Jefferson later did away with the holiday.
Thanksgiving didn't become a nationwide holiday until President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863. Every year following, the President proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving until finally Congress sanctioned the day a legal holiday in 1941.

Did you know?

Sarah Josepha Hale, writer of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb', led a 17 year campaign to get Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. Many letters she sent in that time were ignored, but a letter to Abraham Lincoln finally convinced him to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday in 1863.
More Thanksgiving facts
The holiday has evolved into what Americans now know as Thanksgiving. It is a day to gather with loved ones, celebrate, give thanks for many blessings and, of course, eat. The traditional American Thanksgiving meal includes, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, and pumpkin pie. The meal stems from that eaten by the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving.

Did you know?

The Plymouth settlers did not refer to themselves as 'Pilgrims'. The majority of the settlers were dissidents who had broken away from the Church of England. They would have called themselves 'separatists' or 'puritans'. It wasn’t until about 100 years later that the term 'Pilgrims' started to be commonly used to refer to the settlers.
More Thanksgiving facts
Another American Thanksgiving tradition is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Parade began, even before Thanksgiving was a legal holiday, in 1924. That year Macy’s employees marched through New York City from 145 th St. down to 35 th St. The employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and knights marching next to professional floats, live bands, and 25 live animals that were borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. A quarter of a million people were in the audience; the parade was a success! It became an annual event - people traveled to New York City to be a part of the tradition.
After a three-year hiatus during World War II, the parade picked back up in 1945 nationally televised, so that all of America could participate, making the parade an integral part of the American Thanksgiving holiday tradition.
In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

How Thanksgiving in Canada Is Different From the United States

Both Canada and the United States hold Thanksgiving as a noteworthy national holiday that occurs in the autumn, and in both countries, many people consider it to be an important time for families to gather and enjoy a meal together. Despite these outward similarities, however, there are some important distinctions to be made between how Canadians and Americans conceptualize and celebrate their versions of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day

First of all, it’s important to note that Thanksgiving Day in Canada (or in Quebec, jour de l’action de grâce) is in October, not November, as it is south of the border. Specifically, it comes on the second Monday of the month—which is the same as Columbus Day in the U.S. One explanation for this distinction is that because Canada is geographically situated further north, the brief window of the harvest season comes earlier, so they observe it according to the natural seasonal shift.
Additionally, although Canadian Thanksgiving is officially on a Monday, it can be celebrated at any point over the three-day weekend. The big family meal could take place on Saturday or Sunday, and not necessarily on Monday.

Historical and regional differences

Canadians have been celebrating Thanksgiving as an official annual holiday since 1879. But until 1957, the date was not fixed and moved between October and November. Since the government officially proclaimed the second Monday of October as Thanksgiving Day, it has been a designated statutory holiday across the country—except in the Atlantic Provinces, where it remains an optional holiday.
The meaning ascribed to Thanksgiving is slightly different between Canada and the U.S. Historically in Canada, Thanksgiving celebrations commemorated everything from explorer Martin Frobisher’s successful 1578 crossing of the Northwest Passage to victories during the World Wars, whereas the emphasis in the U.S. is on pilgrims and the Mayflower.
In Canada, there has always been more emphasis placed on the harvest, the changing leaves, and autumn flavors such as apple, pumpkin, maple, cranberry, and various fall vegetables.

It’s not associated with shopping

In the United States, the mayhem that often ensues on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is legendary. Even around the world, news reports show how some shoppers head straight from their Thanksgiving celebrations to line up for sales at the mall as soon as it opens.
This aspect of the holiday isn’t the same in Canada. Although the holiday landing on a Monday does mean that it’s a long weekend for many people, shopping isn’t associated with it, and many stores are closed or hold reduced hours throughout the weekend—especially on Sunday and Thanksgiving Monday.

Recipe differences

While the features of a Thanksgiving meal are very similar between the two countries—with turkey being the main dish, accompanied by stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie—there are some differences in flavor and preparation. For example, American pumpkin pie tends to be sweet and is paired with custard, while in Canada, pumpkin pie is spicier, with ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Also, Canadians tend to use bread crumbs for stuffing, while in the U.S., stuffing, or dressing, features cornbread in the Southern states, oysters in the Eastern states, and the Northern states often use rice.
Why is Thanksgiving on different days in Canada and United State
Native American harvest festivals had been celebrated for centuries, and colonial services dated back to the late 16th century. In the early 1600s, settlers in both Massachusetts and Virginia came together to give thanks for their survival, for the fertility of their fields, and for their faith. The most widely known early Thanksgiving is that of the Pilgrims in Plimoth, Massachusetts, who feasted for 3 days with the Wampanoag people in 1621.
However, the first national holiday of Thanksgiving was observed for a slightly different reason—in honor of the creation of the new United States Constitution. In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26 of that year as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin”  to recognize the role of providence in creating the new United States and the new federal Constitution. Washington was in his first term as president, and a young nation had just emerged successfully from the Revolution. Washington called on the people of the United States to acknowledge God for affording them “an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”  This was the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.
While Thanksgiving became a yearly tradition in many communities—celebrated on different months and days that suited them—it was not a federal government holiday. Thomas Jefferson and many subsequent presidents felt that a public religious demonstration of piety was not appropriate for a government type of holiday in a country based in part on the separation of church and state.  While religious thanksgiving services continued, there were no further presidential proclamations marking Thanksgiving until the Civil War of the 1860s.
In 1863, President Lincoln made a proclamation marking Thursday, November 26, 1863 as Thanksgiving. Lincoln’s proclamation harkened back to Washington’s, as he was also giving thanks to God following a bloody military confrontation. In this case, Lincoln was expressing gratitude to God and thanks to the Army for emerging successfully from the Battle of Gettysburg. He enumerated the blessings of the American people and called upon his countrymen to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving from the fourth to the third Thursday in November! It was the tail-end of the Depression, and Roosevelt’s goal was to create more shopping days before Christmas and to give the economy a boost. However, many people continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.
In 1941, to end any confusion, the president and Congress established Thanksgiving as a United States federal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Read more about Sarah Josepha Hale, the “Godmother of Thanksgiving” who helped turn this historic feast into a national holiday.Of course, Thanksgiving is not born of presidential proclamations.
Note that Thanksgiving Day in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October and has different origins. The first Canadian Thanksgiving Day was observed on April 15, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.
In many North American households today, the Thanksgiving celebration centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.

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Why is Thanksgiving on different days in Canada and United State

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