Today’s Canadian Thanksgiving often blends in with our American neighbors! This is a great time for family members to get together, sit around the table for turkey dinner, give thanks and watch football. The two days of celebration celebrate a bountiful harvest but that is not always the case. There are many Canadian Thanksgiving facts that even Canadians don’t know. So what is that? Discover more in this article!
Canadian Thanksgiving Facts Will Suprise You
Although there are many similarities between Thanksgiving in the US and in Canada, Canadian Thanksgiving has a distinct identity. Sure, Canadians eat much of the same food and watch football, but the holiday’s origins, as well as some of the ways it’s celebrated, can be so different that you don’t know. Here are 15 surprising Canadian Thanksgiving facts that prove their Thanksgiving is truly unique!
Canadian Thanksgiving Arrived First
Maybe everyone assumes the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth when the Pilgrims partied with their Native American guests, right? Not quite!
Canada’s first Thanksgiving is believed to have originated in 1578 with explorer Martin Frobisher. He tried to find a northern passage to the Pacific and celebrated Thanksgiving, not for the harvest but to give thanks for surviving the long voyage at sea. On his final voyage to the far north, Frobisher threw a celebratory meal to thank God for safely reaching Baffin Island.
Even one of the other early Thanksgiving records, celebrated by Samuel De Champlain in 1606, came 15 years before America’s first Thanksgiving.
It used to be held on Remembrance Day
As you know Canadian Thanksgiving always falls on the second Monday of October now, but before that since 1921 it was actually celebrated on November 11 (then known as Armistice Day). That was changed in 1931 to allow veterans to be honored and recognized on their own day.
It’s not a state holiday in 4 provinces
While most people in the country can enjoy a Monday break for rest and relaxation, there are four provinces not on this list: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick.
Oktoberfest also happens around this time
Along with Canada’s Thanksgiving comes another big celebration: Oktoberfest! Oktoberfest is already well known in Germany but there are Oktoberfest celebrations all over Canada, but the one held in Kitchener-Waterloo is still the most famous. This is really the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world and second only to Germany!
Newfoundland usually eats Jiggs dinner on Thanksgiving
Although Thanksgiving is not a state holiday in Newfoundland, they have traditions and customs that have their own identity. Instead of turkey, they serve Jiggs dinner. It is a traditional provincial dish, including bacon, cabbage, and other vegetables.
It’s called “Action de grâce” in Quebec
Thanksgiving has a different name in Quebec and is not celebrated in the same way as it is in the rest of the country, due to its Anglo and Protestant roots.
The truths about Turkeys
Consistent with the Americas – which were confused for an entirely different continent by the Europeans who encountered them – the turkey is an unintended symbol of great confusion. If you’re wondering why turkeys are named after a country that isn’t close to where they actually live, there’s a rather interesting and confusing story.
According to NPR, when the birds were first imported into Britain, it was through merchants operating out of Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire of the Turks. Average folks who bought it for a meal would link it with the Turks rather than the lesser-known New World, and it stuck.
Another explanation: Explorers may have confused it with the West African version of the Guinea fowl commonly known as the Turkish turkey because of the Turkish merchants who traded it.
It was an oddly named fate for a bird with deep roots in the Americas. Your traditional Thanksgiving meal has an evolutionary history of 11 million years.
Other Fun Facts about Canadian Thanksgiving
Bring your family, friends together and gobble up these 10 fun Canadian Thanksgiving facts!
- Although Thanksgiving falls on a Monday, many families dine and gather on Sunday.
- It is believed that eating turkey will make us drowsy, but many experts have confirmed that it is actually the carbohydrates that are part of a Thanksgiving meal that make you feel tired.
- While pumpkins are a Thanksgiving staple for Americans as well as Canadians, they are also rooted with indigenous people and it’s uncertain whether they appeared in the first meals of Thanksgiving or not. However, some known pumpkin pie recipes date back to the 1650s.
- Thanksgiving Day in Canada and Columbus Day in the United States have been around the same time since 1971.
- The cornucopia, also known as the horn of abundance, symbolizes plenty and nourishment. It is especially linked with Thanksgiving Day in North America.
- Canadians bought 2.2 million whole turkeys for Thanksgiving 2015, 35% of all whole turkeys sold for the year.
- In 2018, 28% of all Canadian households (about 4.6 million people) bought turkey and turkey products for Thanksgiving.
- There were 80 cranberry farms in BC with a variety of cranberries served at Thanksgiving dinners, and while it’s unclear if cranberries were used in the first Thanksgiving meal, indigenous peoples used them to dye, cook, and then introduce them to pilgrims.
- Turducken – a 3-in-1 dish that is quickly becoming a popular alternative to turkey on Thanksgiving. Truly, Turducken brings you the best of three worlds, which consists of a deboned chicken, stuffed into a deboned duck, and then stuffed into a deboned turkey.
Above, we have compiled funny information about Thanksgiving for you to read and share. Make Thanksgiving dinner more enjoyable with these fun Canadian Thanksgiving facts. Don’t forget to show your gratitude with meaningful quotes and unique gifts from our collection of Thanksgiving gift ideas. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!