Turkeys may not be rejoicing at this time of the year. Not only are they the traditional choice for celebrating Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday, but also the massive recall of E-Coli infected beef has taken many alternative choices off the menu.
I am sure that Canadians will find a way to enjoy the holiday – after all it is about gathering together with family and friends and the feasting is secondary. No really!
When we first came to Canada the whole idea of Thanksgiving was quite foreign to us. In the UK the nearest equivalent is Christmas dinner (where the turkey features too). So over the years we have failed to develop a tradition. Each year we celebrate by eating whatever we want. That has included eating pizza, Mexican, curry and one dreadful year – tofurky!
However you are celebrating this harvest festival, we wish you and your family an enjoyable time.
This holiday is a family one with families gathering around the (groaning) table to enjoy the feast. All across the country, children return from their universities to visit with their folks.
For us, Alice is the first of our children to be away from home at university. She is not the first to go to university as her two older sisters, Laura and Gwen stayed at home as they went to Capilano College (now University) in North Vancouver.
The roads, ferries and airlines must be packed with kids traveling this weekend. All looking forward to home cooked meals and meeting up with their high school buddies.
In some cases they are also returning to see their girl or boy friend – the one they left behind when they went away. Often these reunions are not so good – so much so the relationship comes to a sudden end. This is known as the turkey dump!
Alice will not have that to fear since there was no boy pining for her whilst she was away (not that we know of anyhow). The worst she has to fear is my cooking – as Sue and Laura are still in the UK for the last Emigrate Show.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving [which is not the same as the American one]. You might think that it is a peculiarly north american thing. You’d be both right and wrong.
Right, because we are in north america. And our big neighbour to the south has won all the publicity about their thanksgiving traditions. Thanks to them, you probably already know that thanksgiving is a celebration dating back to the pilgrim fathers and their feast on surviving their first year in the new world. They kindly invited the native americans to enjoy the feast too. So a very American festival that Americans now celebrate almost more than Christmas [Not the PC term – sorry].
You would be wrong, at least a little bit, Canada’s thanksgiving is rooted in European tradition. It started out as a harvest festival. Just like the harvest festivals that are still celebrate across Europe. And, despite our poor record in getting the message out, Canada started their tradition way earlier than our cousins to the south. In fact the first thanksgiving is said to have been in 1578 when Martin Frobisher marked his safe arrival in Newfoundland with a feast.
Canada continues to celebrate thanksgiving before the US does – ours is held on the 2nd Monday of October. The US holiday is the 4th Thursday in November.
It is still a feast of gluttony. Think Christmas dinner with pumpkin pie instead of Christmas pud.