Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanksgiving and pies!

This past weekend I went to my parent's place in the country to celebrate Thanksgiving. For those of you in the US I know your Thanksgiving isn't until the last Thursday in November, but in Canada it is celebrated the second Monday in October. This is because it is more of a general celebration of thanks for the harvest and is not connected to the landing of the Pilgrims which our friends in the States celebrate. And because our growing season is shorter (winter comes early up here my friends).

A Victorian Thanksgiving card

The first celebration of thanks held in Canada was in 1578 when the English explorer Martin Frobisher, who was looking for the Northwest passage, celebrated his safe landing. Later in the early 1600s and onwards, the French settlers celebrated autumn feasts giving thanks for the harvest, though there was no fixed date for this. It apparently was both a European and Native custom to hold these end of harvest feasts.

In the 1700s and 1800s thanksgiving feasts were held to celebrate everything from the 1763 English victory over the French in the Seven Years War, the uniting of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841 and the recovery of the Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) from illness. Any excuse for a big meal I say!
It is also important to note that Americans also influenced Canadian Thanksgiving when many Loyalists moved to Canada after the American Revolution bringing their traditions with them.

In the early 1900s the government set the first Monday in November as Thanksgiving. With the celebration of the end of World War I, Armstice Day (later Remembrance Day) falling on November 11, many thought the two dates were too close. Thus in 1957 Canadian Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October.

So above is my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast (I made two). Yes I did make the filling from scratch, though I did cheat on the pastry (thanks Pillsbury). It actually turned out pretty good! I have some extra pumpkin too, so I think I might make a loaf.
So what are your Thanksgiving/fall traditions?

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1 comment:

  1. I never knew that Canada had a Thanksgiving. Makes perfect sense, though- even without a "thanksgiving" in the way I was raised to think of it as, harvest feasts are a great idea in any society that farmed heavily.

    Although I am sorry your Thanksgiving was moved to October. One thing I do like about ours being in November is it gives me something to look forward to in the dreary month of November.