The first North American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1578 when the English Navigator, Martin Frobisher, held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland. He did this to give thanks for surviving the long sea journey and other settlers arrived in Newfoundland, and the tradition was continued by them.
In 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a national holiday of Thanksgiving. Over the years this date changed, and on January 31, 1957, Parliament declared the second Monday in October of each year to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”.
Most families in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving with a special dinner for family and friends. The dinner usually includes a roasted turkey and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to look at pioneer life, and it is an ideal time to celebrate the importance of Canadian farmers for all Canadians.
Many families use to have special meal, and go around the table expressing their thankfulness for during the past year. It is a special day for children to spend with their Canadian grandparents, and to appreciate the abundance in everyone’s lives.
Many friends and family members use to get together to convey their thankfulness for the past year.
Long ago, before the first Europeans arrived in North America, the farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time. To give thanks for their good fortune and the abundance of food, the farm workers filled a curved goat’s horn with fruit and grain. This symbol was called a cornucopia or horn of plenty. When they came to Canada they brought this tradition with them.
During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie. According to one Canadian resource the Canadian table usually features venison and waterfowl over turkey. However, a professor from Durham College tells us that in Southern Ontario eating waterfowl or venison at Thanksgiving has never happened and that the turkey or/and ham is the featured food.
Events in surrounding areas of the Thanksgiving weekend
Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival October 10 – 13, 2008
Celebrate the 34th anniversary of this unsurpassed fall craft show – The Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival. More than 100 artisans and crafters will be featured, as well as daily live entertainment, children’s attractions, heritage activities and tours. Birds of prey, pony rides and more.
Location: Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, Jordan
Vineland Thanksgiving Art Fest October 11, 12, 13, 2008
The Annual Vineland Thanksgiving Art Fest is a fundraiser for Vineland Public School. Held outdoors on the school grounds and throughout the surrounding area, this popular juried show has up to 130 exhibitors proudly presenting fine arts, quality crafts and other unique wares.
Location: Vineland Public School Grounds, Vineland
Howell’s Pumpkin Farm in Fonthill, ON