TIME TO GIVE THANKS
As it is the Friday before a long weekend, I thought a more light-hearted blog would be in order.
What is the origin of Canadian Thanksgiving? Like so much in Canada, we borrowed the tradition from our American cousins in the mid 1800s. However, at the time, Protestant church leaders in Ontario wanted to set the right moralistic tone when it came giving thanks for the harvest. As such, Thanksgiving started off as a decidedly religious, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, pro-British and anti-American affair. Catholics were certainly not welcome nor were visible or religious minorities. The first national Thanksgiving was held in 1859 on a Thursday. Over time, the Protestant churches lost control of the holiday and it became more secular and less exclusive. Parliament eventually declared that Thanksgiving should fall on the second Monday of October partly due to pressure from transport companies who hoped that a holiday on a Monday would increase holiday traffic.
Canadian Thanksgiving therefore had nothing to do with harvesting of crops or the arrival of fall colours. But Canadian Thanksgiving is nevertheless typically Canadian: it sprang from a parochial and prejudiced mindset heavily influenced by the politics and values of the day not to mention the colossus to the south. The world of commerce also had a say and got its way when it came to a fixed date. However, as Canada grew and matured as a country, Thanksgiving become more widespread and inclusive. Today, Thanksgiving is a time for all Canadians to give thanks for the bounty of the land and the freedoms we enjoy. Vive le Canada and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Thanks for reading my blogs this week.