Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l'Action de grâce), "occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner."
"Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia being the exceptions. Where a company is regulated by the federal government (such as those in the telecommunications and banking sectors), it is recognized regardless of status provincially."
"As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot."
"While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, though Sunday and Monday are the most common. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways to observe the autumn leaves, spend one last weekend at the cottage, or participate in various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and hunting."
"Canada's top professional football league, the Canadian Football League, holds a nationally televised doubleheader known as the "Thanksgiving Day Classic." It is one of two weeks in which the league plays on Monday afternoons, the other being the Labour Day Classic. Unlike the Labour Day games, the teams that play on the Thanksgiving Day Classic rotate each year."
History of Thanksgiving in Canada
"Various First Nations in Canada had long-standing traditions celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Canada's First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America."
"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 what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay."
"At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, in 1604 onwards also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their First Nations neighbours."
"After the Seven Years' War ended in 1763 handing over of New France to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year. After the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness."
"Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every
year, but the date was proclaimed annually and changed
year to year. The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday also
changed each year to reflect an important event to be
thankful for. In its early years it was for an abundant
harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary."
"After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving
were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which
November 11 occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two
days became separate holidays, and Armistice Day was
renamed Remembrance Day.""
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