Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

What is going on with the different Thanksgivings?

Why do Canada and the US celebrate Thanksgiving on different days? As social media will tell you every fall, Canadian Thanksgiving vs American Thanksgiving is a very different holiday celebration. What exactly is going on here with these differences? Let’s get on to these Thanksgiving themed questions.

Canadian Thanksgiving vs American Thanksgiving Dates

Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Americans celebrate it on the fourth Thursday in November. Why doesn’t Canada celebrate Thanksgiving the same day as the United States? The simplest answer is, Canadian has fall and harvest much earlier than in America. Winter comes sooner, so the bountiful fall harvest awould therefore, also come sooner. There have been many dates over the years were both nations have celebrated the traditional day of giving thanks, feasting and celebrating with loved ones.

Canadian Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations were held for everything from explorer Martin Frobisher’s successful crossing of the Northwest Passage in 1578 to various war victories to the recovery of the Price of Wales sickness in 1872. Canada official chose the date of second Monday in October by Parliament in 1957.

Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

American Thanksgiving

In the United States, the first holiday tradition was traced to a 1621 event in Virginia known as the Plymouth feast. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England in the USA. In November 26, 1789, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America  “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”  Over the next several years, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The last Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century.

Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. The reasoning was that an earlier celebration of the holiday would give the country an economic boost. That change did have an effect on USA economy, ultimately creating Black Friday.

Thanksgiving like celebrations are also seen in Grenada, Liberia, Saint Lucia, Norfolk Island, Germany, Japan and Netherlands.

Other Differences between Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

In America, Black Friday is legendary. Shopping is not really a part of Canadian Thanksgiving. Although in recent years, that has changed slightly with online shopping. The main reason for the shipping difference has been that in Canada the holiday is on Thanksgiving Monday. That means it’s a long weekend for many people, but shopping isn’t an essential part of it, unlike the Friday before American Thanksgiving.  The biggest shopping day in Canada is Boxing Day – Decemeber 26th – following Christmas.

Dinner Traditions differences between Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

Food traditions vary widely be region and backgrounds but over all there are some dinner differences between countries.

Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

  • Canadian Thanksgiving pumpkin pie can be spicy – including nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon.  American pumpkin pie can be more sweet and often times will have custard texture to it.
  • Canadians will often bake or mash sweet potatoes, but Americans generally add butter, sugar, pecan and spices to make a casserole topped with marshmallows.
  • Canadians use bread crumbs or sometimes rice for stuffing. In the U.S. , stuffing is made with cornbread base in Southern states, oysters are used in the Eastern states and the Northern states sometimes use rice like Canadians.
  • Americans have many specific regional dishes like Collard greens(a leafy vegtable similar to such as kale, turnip greens, and spinach), Cornbread is often used for stuffing, pudding or side rolls and Green beans are frenquently served as a casserole with crispy onions.

Canadians frequently have root vegetables as part of the experience. Turnip, squash, carrots, broccoli and peas are frequently served as well. Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving

  • Thanksgiving in America will have a Thanksgiving Parade – Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade for example. Canadians will often watch football – The CFL will show the Thanksgiving Day Classic football.

As you can see, there are many difference between Canadian Thanksgiving Vs American Thanksgiving. All in all, both countries use the holiday to celebrate giving thanks and spending time with family. Happy Holidays!


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