In the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year. But did you know that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, too? Here are a few of the key differences between American and Canadian Thanksgiving!
A KEY + difference = an important, or noteworthy example
- “A key difference between American and Canadian Thanksgiving is the date they celebrate the holiday”
- “One of the key differences between my wife and I is that I like to sleep late and she likes to wake up early”
4 WAYS CANADIAN THANKSGIVING DIFFERS FROM AMERICAN THANKSGIVING
Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving may look similar at first glance, but there are a few things that set these two fall festivities apart.
to GLANCE at
To TAKE A glance at = To look at quickly, and without any specific attention to detail:
- “Can you take a glance at the cover letter for my resume and see if you think it is good?”
- “I glanced at the menu, but didn’t immediately see anything I liked”
- “The menu didn’t seem to offer anything good at first glance [but then….]”
At first glance = phrase; this is used to describe something we glanced at, but then later saw a specific detail we didn’t’ see
- “At first glance, the menu didn’t seem to offer anything good, but then I noticed their dessert menu, so we went inside!”
1. CANADIAN THANKSGIVING IS IN OCTOBER—AND ON A MONDAY
That’s right! Canadian Thanksgiving happens a full month and a half before American Thanksgiving, on the second Monday in October (Monday, October 11, 2021).
Since the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday, its date has moved several times—from mid-week in April to a Thursday in November ––
Present Perfect Tense: this tense describes one or more actions that happen in a large period of time, and which includes today.
- “Since the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday, its date has moved several times”
SINCE the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday, its date HAS MOVED several times”
This tense is used to say that from the beginning of celebrating the holiday until today, the date moved several times, but we use this tense because we are not explaining when those actions happened. We are discussing a period of time instead of single actions.
- “Since 2010, I HAVE LIVED in several apartments” –– when? The speaker thinks this doesn’t matter, or can’t remember.
- “Since this morning I HAVE DRUNK 6 cups of coffee!” –– when did the speaker drink the coffee? Between the morning and now. We would need the exact time he drank each cup to use a simpler tense.
- “I HAVE CHANGED jobs 4 times since 2005″ –– when did the speaker change jobs? The speaker doesn’t think this matters, the action is more important and easier to explain using a large time period (that includes today!”
—until 1957, when the Canadian government officially declared that Thanksgiving would occur on the second Monday in October.
To HAPPEN = to OCCUR /to TAKE PLACE
- “Where will the meeting happen? = “Where will the meeting occur?
- “Can you tell me when the accident occured?” = “Can you tell me when the accident happened?”
This ensured that Thanksgiving and another Canadian holiday, Remembrance Day (November 11), would no longer overlap.
to OVERLAP = to happen at the same time
Today, Canadian Thanksgiving lines up with Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States, which are also held on the second Monday in October.
- AMERICAN AND CANADIAN THANKSGIVING HAVE DIFFERENT (BUT SIMILAR) ORIGINS
Everyone seems to know the story of the first American Thanksgiving in 1621, but do you know how Canadian Thanksgiving came about? In fact, the first Canadian Thanksgiving may have even pre-dated the Pilgrims’ big meal.
to PRE-DATE = to come before
- “My desire to live in Europe pre-dates my move to Latvia in 2010”
- “Our product pre-dates our competitors by more than a year”
The tradition of Thanksgiving originated with the harvest festival—an autumnal celebration meant to show appreciation for the bountiful harvest of the season. However, Canadian Thanksgiving was originally less about celebrating the harvest and more about thanking God for keeping early explorers safe as they ventured into the New World.
to be Bountiful = adjective; to be abundant; large as a harvest or in supply
“She had bountiful energy at the children’s party”
“The table of gifts was bountiful”
to Venture = verb; to go into the unknown, farther and further than you have ever been.
“The company plans to venture into the Estonian market, which could be a risk”
“The children ventured beyond the hill, the farthest away from home they’d ever been”
In that sense of “thanks-giving,” the earliest report of such a dinner dates back to 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew held a special meal to thank God for granting them safe passage through northern North America, into what is today the Canadian Territory of Nunavut.
The first Thanksgiving after Canadian Confederation didn’t happen until April 1872, when the holiday was observed to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness.
Today, the tradition of Thanksgiving has come full circle, and it’s primarily seen as a time to gather the family, mark the start of autumn, and celebrate the good food of the season.
“to come full circle” = phrase; to progress and naturally return to the beginning
“I was born in a small town, and after years of travel, I came full circle, and returned to live in my childhood home”
“The Shakespearean actor’s career came full circle, returning to the stage in his old age after spending decades making films”
3. THANKSGIVING IS A LITTLE MORE LOW KEY IN CANADA
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year in the United States—with huge parades, massive feasts, and football—but it’s decidedly lower key in Canada. Although the holiday is still widely celebrated in Canada and is a statutory holiday in most of the country*, Canadians’ approach to Thanksgiving is a bit more laid back.
(*The exceptions are the Atlantic provinces, where the holiday is an optional day off, and in Quebec, where the holiday isn’t as popular overall.)
Thanksgiving in Canada involves families coming together to eat turkey and celebrate the harvest, but relatives don’t tend to travel as far across the country like they might in the United States. And because the holiday takes place in early October, the weather is usually still suitable for a Thanksgiving Day hike or vacation—a tradition that many Canadians readily take part in ahead of the long winter. Plus, because the holiday falls on a Monday, the Thanksgiving feast may instead take place on Saturday or Sunday.
Although you might expect hockey to take the place of traditional Thanksgiving Day football, football is part of Thanksgiving tradition in Canada, too. Each year, the annual Thanksgiving Day Classic double header is broadcast nationwide, wherein four teams from the CFL (Canadian Football League) play for Thanksgiving glory!
4. THERE’S NO HUGE POST-THANKSGIVING SHOPPING CRAZE
Love them or hate them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a big part of the Thanksgiving season in the United States. In Canada, however, there’s no real post-Thanksgiving shopping craze, since Christmas is still so far off. This gives Canadians the chance to focus purely on celebrating the beauty of early October and the harvest!
That being said, no one can resist a good sale for long: in recent years, Canadian stores have started to participate in November’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, too. Especially in 2020, with the surge in online shopping, retailers may seize any opportunity to promote consumer activity around the holidays.
“That being said” = phrase; however, although, “having said that”
“I love winter, that being said, I miss the sunlight”
In the end, no matter how, when, or where you celebrate it: Happy Thanksgiving!