I write every now and then about various cultural or religious celebrations, as a way to educate people about diversity. Today is a good time to talk about the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday this weekend … many businesses will be closed Monday!
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October and is a day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.
The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer Martin Frobisher, who has been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. In 1578 he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America. Although, celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops had been a long-standing tradition throughout North American by various First Nations and Native American groups such as the Pueblo, Cherokee and Cree. The First Nations and Native American groups organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every year but the date was proclaimed annually and changed year to year. The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday has changed to reflect an important event in which to be thankful for, as in the early years it reflected thankfulness for an abundant harvest.
A common image seen at this time of year is a cornucopia, or horn, filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables. This represents the “Horn of Plenty” which was a symbol of bounty and plenty in ancient Greece. Turkeys, pumpkins, corn and large displays of food are also used to symbolize this holiday