Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving in Canada

Long before the first Europeans arrived in North America, farmers in Europe celebrated by "Giving Thanks" for their good fortune at harvest time. The farm workers filled a curved goat's horn with fruits and grains. That symbol was called a "Cornucopia" or "Horn of Plenty". When these Europeans came to Canada they brought this tradition with them.

In the year of 1578, the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony, in today's Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey to Canada. Martin Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in Northern Canada named after him -- "Frobisher Bay". Other settlers arrived and continued the celebration.

French settlers, who arrived at about the same time in Canada, with explorer Samuel de Champlain, held their own celebration of thanks, which included a huge feast. They also formed "The Order of Good Cheer" and gladly shared their good fortune with the Canadian Native Indians.

The next "Thanksgiving" in Canada was celebrated after the seven year war, which ended in 1763, by the citizens of Halifax, they held a special day of Thanksgiving.

Later, after the American revolution, Americans, who remained faithful to the English government, known as "Loyalists" moved to Canada and spread Thanksgiving celebration throughout Canada.

Not until the year of 1879, the Canadian Parliament declared November 6th a day of "Thanksgiving" and was declared a national holiday. Thanksgiving day celebration has been moved over the years, and the 3rd Monday in October proved to be the most popular one. After Word War I, both, Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. In 1931, ten years later, the two holidays became separate ones and the Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

Not until January 31st, 1957, the Canadian 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 2nd Monday in October.

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