Happy Yanksgiving: How the US Stole Thanksgiving From Canada

This week, you folks down south are celebrating Thanksgiving, or rather, Yanksgiving, as I would like to call it. You see, in Canada, we celebrate our Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, while in the U.S., it apparently happens on the fourth Thursday in November. The reason for this is because our harvest season happens about a month before the American harvest season, so it makes sense that we celebrate it a bit sooner than you do.

Thanksgiving is a tradition that's not based on any historical event or date unlike Christmas or Easter. Early pilgrims to the new world basically made up this holiday as a way of giving thanks for the bountiful harvest, and thus various religions nowadays have taken this holiday and made their own versions and reasons for giving thanks.

Amazingly, the first Canadian Thanksgiving dates back even further than that of the U.S. with the first settlers in Massachusetts on their first harvest in 1621. Back in the days of 1578, an English explorer named Martin Frobisher was in search of a northern route to the Orient. He was sadly unsuccessful in his quest, but did end up establishing a settlement somewhere up north in what we call Newfoundland today. Frobisher was very thankful that the journey was safe even though he never made it to the Orient, and he decided to have a day off to say thanks. This resulted in the first Canadian Thanksgiving.

The French settlers were also making their way into what we call Quebec, and began having days to say thanks during the harvest time. Unlike Frobisher, they invited local Indians to take part in their feast and thus the tradition started spreading across the land and Thanksgiving was born.

In any case, to all Americans enjoying your week off and chumping down on all that left over turkey, you're all very welcome. 


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Wyn Hou

Wyn studied Computer Engineering at McMaster University. He grew up in three different countries. Among other things, he has worked at Research in Motion where he gained a good understanding of smartphone form factors and user interface design and York University where he learned the basics of vision research and 3D motion detection. Wyn is an avid Canadian.

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