Thanksgiving Traditions: Canadian Style

Canadian Thanksgiving is a tradition well-rooted in family, food and festivities. Many families have deep rooted traditions and as families evolve and time passes on so too does the traditions however, family remains the basis and time to give thanks.

Origin of Canada’s Thanksgiving

First of all, Canada’s Thanksgiving seems to have unofficially originated very early on in Canada’s history. Native Americans in Canada celebrated their own harvests with feasts prior to the arrival of European explorers. Some say the first real “Thanksgiving” dinner ceremony was held by Martin Frobisher in 1578, after returning from his third long and arduous journey in search of the Northwest Passage.

Truly Canadian Traditions

Canadians tend to be a little lax on the actual date of Thanksgiving. It’s always on the second Monday of October, and while (most) provinces and territories have Monday as a statutory holiday, families will have their Thanksgiving feasts on whatever day of the long weekend best suits their needs.

Football, while not as big of a deal to Canadians, is still somewhat associated with Thanksgiving. The Canadian Football League does hold something they call the Thanksgiving Day Classic; a tradition which began as early as 1958. It’s a doubleheader, meaning two games are played that afternoon. This year, the Calgary Stampeders are playing the Montreal Alouettes at 1:00pm and Edmonton Eskimos are playing the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 4:00pm.

Canada even has it’s own culinary traditions. While the staples are still there (turkey and gravy, cranberry sauce, sometimes a ham), there are slight variations in how we prepare and present our fall staples. For example, Canadian pumpkin pie will be spicier, usually made with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. We also prefer to mash our vegetables, generally, and have wheat-based stuffing and dinner rolls rather than something like cornbread!

The main affair of any Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey–but unless you’re feeding a good-sized family (and have a pretty big budget), getting a butterball might not work for you. Instead, consider just roasting turkey legs or breasts for a small, fun-sized dinner! The natural companions to a turkey dinner are cranberry sauce and gravy

And don’t forget the plethora of side dishes all Thanksgiving dinners should have! Stuffing itself really should count as a side dish by itself. Veggies are the ultimate side dishes.

Finally dessert!  Delicious, spicy and sweet, fall dessert. No Thanksgiving is complete without some kind of pumpkin treat.

What are you giving thanks for this year?

Health for the family, warm meals on a cold day, Family heirlooms, random acts of kindness, captured moments on film, stolen private moments, inside jokes, fresh laundry, peaceful stroll or just coming home.

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