When is Thanksgiving in Canada?

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In the U.S., Thanksgiving is still over a month away (though that doesn’t mean that turkey, stuffing, and gravy aren’t already on the minds of many Americans). In Canada, though, Thanksgiving occurs a bit earlier in the year. In fact, Canadian Thanksgiving is actually happening right this moment, though it’s not always on October 14th.

When is Thanksgiving in Canada? How does it compare to American Thanksgiving? Read on to learn all about how the big neighbor to the north celebrates this major holiday.

When is Thanksgiving in Canada?

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated annually on the second Monday of October. This is roughly six weeks earlier than in the U.S., where Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of October. Since American Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, the holiday tends to involve a four-day weekend of celebration and time off from work, with the holiday feast falling on Thanksgiving day proper. In Canada, however, the feast is often hosted over the weekend.

What is Thanksgiving about in Canada?

Like the U.S., Canada uses Thanksgiving to honor the arrival of certain people from across the ocean. In 1578, Sir Martin Frobisher of England sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to what was then the Canadian territory (now the modern-day country of Canada). To celebrate their safe arrival, Frobisher and his crew enjoyed a feast akin to that which the Pilgrims enjoyed at Plymouth in 1621. The two Thanksgivings celebrate analogous events in each country’s history, but American Thanksgiving became an official holiday nearly a century before Canadian Thanksgiving did despite the earlier arrival of Frobisher in the Western Hemisphere.

What do people eat for Thanksgiving in Canada?

Canadian Thanksgiving isn’t a big turkey occasion as it is in the U.S. Instead, to honor Sir Frobisher’s salt beef and mushy peas, the Canadian Thanksgiving feast tends to involve boiled meat and split pea pudding, a combination known as Jiggs’ dinner. The American Thanksgiving staple of pie also tends to take a backseat in Canada, where celebrators favor butter tarts. These are simply bite-sized pastry shells that pack a sweet, syrupy bite.

Is Thanksgiving as big a deal in Canada?

Thanksgiving is inarguably one of the very most important holidays in the U.S. Almost all schools, government offices, and businesses across the country close for the holiday. In Canada, Thanksgiving celebrations aren’t as widespread. In fact, the Canadian territories of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving. Furthermore, Canadian employers aren’t legally required to give their employees paid time off for Thanksgiving, explaining why the holiday feast often occurs the weekend prior.

Does Black Friday accompany Canadian Thanksgiving?

Turkey and stuffing are only one part of Thanksgiving joy. For many eager consumers, the holiday also provides an opportunity to rush name-brand stores for steep discounts available for just one day. In the U.S., this day is the infamous, sometimes dangerous Black Friday. In Canada, the equivalent to Black Friday occurs long after Thanksgiving in the form of Boxing Day, which occurs the day after Christmas. Boxing Day is rooted in the charitable actions of rich Canadians towards poorer ones, and discounted prices in Canadian stores on this day reflect this tradition.

How does Canadian Thanksgiving sound to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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