October 11, 2013

A History Lesson: Canadian Thanksgiving

I've gotten a lot of questions lately from my American readers as to why we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. Didn't the pilgrims land on Plymouth Rock? Isn't that in the US? What's Canada got to do with it all? And why do those kooky Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving so dang early? Isn't Thanksgiving supposed to be in November? Are Canadians just that eager that they have Black Friday in October so they can get their Christmas shopping done? If they're that organized when it comes to Christmas does that mean they're planning to take over the world and make us all double-double drinkers?

The short answer is, yes. To all those questions.

Now, on to the long answer.

Canadian Thanksgiving is on the second Monday of October. American Thanksgiving is sometime in November, on a Thursday of all things, within spitting distance of Christmas. Canadian Thanksgiving means a long weekend, American Thanksgiving means a long week.

According to the internet, Canadians are an inherently thankful people and have been celebrating thankfulness for their harvests and good manners since 1578. Americans tapped into their thankfulness when they came to the new world and met Pocahontas. At least Colin Farrell did, but I think that was when his ship went way off course and ended up in Virginia. That's not where Plymouth Rock is, is it?

The new Americans brought delicious things like small pox and borderline starvation to their Thanksgiving dinner that they shared with the aboriginal population. The Canadians shared their shiny colonial outlook with the aboriginals they encountered. Small pox was optional.

Canada is also a lot colder that the US. It always has been. This is why Canadians are so much happier: more snuggling. In November Canadians are more focussed on snuggling and lumberjacking; they're already looking ahead to Christmas, and like to space their turkey dinners out. Americans just like turkey. That's why their turkey days are so close together. They go through turkey withdrawal otherwise and have to have elections to fill the void. You wouldn't believe how many more elections they'd have if their Thanksgiving was in October.

Although not one of the "official" reasons for celebrating Thanksgiving, Canadians still appreciate the pilgrims just as much as their American counterparts. This is why Canadians have their traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia. Everyone at the table takes turns wearing the cornucopia on their head while going around in a circle and saying what it is they're thankful for. Someone always says "pilgrims." Without the pilgrims we wouldn't even have Thanksgiving or pumpkin pie.

In England they don't have Thanksgiving (no one's ever happy to lose the pilgrims) and pumpkin pie sounds like a bad word to them. They have banoffee pie, though, I guess that's understandable.

And that, dear friends and readers, is why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving and how it differs from the American version.


  1. bahahahahaha! Don't forget to add to the list of charming America Thanksgiving things: at the original "thanksgiving day" not only did we kill out entire hoards of natives with small pox, but we also subjected them to such tasty things as boiled turkey and boiled lettuce.

    Yes, boiled lettuce.

    Sounds like fun, no?

  2. This is hysterical. Please write your own line of history books.

    I like your theory that snuggling makes Canadians happier than Americans. We're personal space people.


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