Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada.
“The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey. French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s also took to celebrating their successful harvests. They even shared their food with the indigenous people of the area as well as setting up what became known as the “Order of Good Cheer.” As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish, Germans would also add their own harvest traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most of the American aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey) were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.
The traditional origin point for Thanksgiving in the United States is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. This Thanksgiving, modeled after celebrations that were commonplace in contemporary Europe, is generally regarded as America’s first….
Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th Century, when it was typically held on November 6th. After the end of World War I, Thanksgiving Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies were usually held during the same week. To avoid the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on it’s present date.
Thanksgiving in the United States had typically been observed on different dates throughout history. It would not be until December 26th, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill making Thanksgiving fixed to it’s current date. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and on the second Monday of October in Canada.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving
Enough of the history lesson….
I remember my grandson, Jaxon curled up on my lap when he was a wee lad and he hugged me. “Ga,” he sighed contentedly. That was his name for me then, not quite having mastered “Grandma” yet. I kissed his little blond head and smiled at him.
“Did you like Grandma’s turkey dinner tonight?” I asked him.
“Did you like the stuffing?”
“Did you like the red cabbage and caramel potatoes?”
I squeezed him a little tighter and he curled into me a little more and sighed again, “Ahhh, Ga…”
He was content. His tummy was full. He was thankful. At nineteen months of age, Jaxon had Thanksgiving all figured out.
My husband and I are in the States over Canadian Thanksgiving this year. I am reminded how much I am thankful for. The blessings God has given me over these many years: friends, family, possessions, health. As we drove through Montana a few days ago I was impressed by the many “Ten Commandments” billboard signs along the highway. On one hill just on the outskirts of Bigfork a massive white Cross stood out amongst the trees and fall colours. The cross-brace reads: “Jesus died for you.” The vertical brace reads: “Are you willing to live for Him?”
Being thankful is a choice. “Are you willing to live for Him?” If you say, “Yes!”, then you too, have Thanksgiving all figured out.