Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October. American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November. Why is that I asked, and was told it is probably because Canada is farther north and the harvest comes earlier, so we celebrate it earlier.
Our celebration has nothing to do with the pilgrims or the Mayflower but we started celebrating as soon as the final harvesting of the crops before winter was done.
Of course, Vancouverites (where I am from) love to make the most of a long weekend being as there is no crops in our city! Since the weather is often sunny and crisp, we go hiking, golf, visit the farmers market, stroll along Kitsilano Beach (brave souls windsurf on the water), head up for skiing on Whistler’s glaciers or meet for dim sum.
Okay, so truth be told, we all don’t play hockey outside with stunning backgrounds. We don’t all play hockey. Admitting that is probably an indictable offense here in Canada.
I can assure you however that you can watch hockey on the Canadian TV channels all weekend long on our Thanksgiving Weekend if you want. You would think it is our national sport, but you would be only half right. I used to think lacrosse was! But I am no longer correct.
A little bit of trivial for my American friends. In 1994 the Canadian government enacted the National Sports of Canada Act which stated
“The game commonly known as ice hockey is hereby recognized and declared to be the national winter sport of Canada and the game commonly known as lacrosse is hereby recognized and declared to be the national summer sport of Canada.
Now the fact is that our Thanksgiving holiday is in the fall. Neither summer nor winter but we won’t let that little fact get us off our collective butts from watching hockey! Probably there are a few NFL games being watched as well. You’re welcome.
Who doesn’t like an excuse to eat turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Traditionalists would expect mashed potatoes with turkey gravy. There are usually several sorts of root vegetables. I have never, however, had glazed sweet potatoes/yams with the marshmallows.
This year I decided to give an ode to my American friends and make candied sweet potatoes to take to my brother Joe’s place for Thanksgiving. I have been following a woman that has a website called ‘My Forking Life’ and saw a recipe for them. I am sorry but I just can’t put those marshmallows on the top.
It is traditional for every thanksgiving dinner to end with a pumpkin pie. We will always have an apple pie and a few others on the table but it is the law that you must have pumpkin pie. At least it is law in our house and most other houses I have been in.
So, my American friends, please think of making a trip up north. The three reasons, hockey, turkey, and pumpkin pie would be enough to come for Thanksgiving. But you are invited anytime. Not only will your money go a lot further, but we are a friendly bunch and you might just get an invite to dinner.
We all give thanks for what we have and for the families that surround us. The similarities are a lot more than the differences.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!