Americans and Canadians share a border, coinhabit North America, and yes, celebrate some mutual holidays. But, we all know that Canada and the US are not created equal...I mean there are some sad Americans who have never even tasted Tim Horton's.
So, how far do our similarities extend in terms of Thanksgiving? After talking to three Canadians, the confusion around Canadian versus American Thanksgiving has finally evaporated. Special thanks to Justin, Melanie, and Brock for sticking to their Canadian roots and for sharing some information with me. Now, behold, the inside scoop on Canadian Thanksgiving.
First, Some Canadian Thanksgiving Background
If you have ever criticized, questioned, or belittled Canada for copying our American Thanksgiving, please continue reading. For clarification, Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving are two historically separate events and grew independently of one another. Make fun of Canada for being too nice or too obsessed with Tim Horton's, but let's end our arrogant American ways and get our facts straight about Canadian Thanksgiving.
Once upon a time, way back on November 14, 1606 in Port Royal, the tale of Canadian Thanksgiving began. Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt (let's call him JDBDP for sake of my typing exhaustion) returned safely from an expedition, and a party was needed. JDBDP, several Europeans, and some native Canadians cooked a big feast and called it the Order of Good Cheer.
Newsflash, this was actually when America celebrated their first good harvest (aka Thanksgiving) in November of 1621, but, moral of the story, both of these holidays are rooted in giving thanks and they're both still widely and wildly celebrated today.
#SpoonTip: Going to Canada? Canadian Thanksgiving is still referred to as "Canadian Thanksgiving" there, so speak like a local and keep doin' exactly what you're doin'.
What do Canadians do on Canadian Thanksgiving?
Many of you American Spoonies have probably flown home for Thanksgiving break and gathered at the dinner table with tons of extended fam (maybe more than you wanted? Crazy Aunt Beth, anyone?) However, in Canada, coming home for the holiday isn't as big of a deal as it is in the United States (where some religious families even rank Thanksgiving as more important than Christmas).
So, though it's definitely not as blown up as in America, Canadians typically get the day off of work and school to celebrate. Justin, Melanie, and Brock all mention that this celebration revolves around a big family dinner, too, but it's not usually held on the actual day of Canadian Thanksgiving. The holiday's on the second Monday of October, but meals normally take place the previous weekend.
And, yes, we all know American Thanksgiving would not be the same without football, so Canada channels this pairing, too. They broadcast Canadian Football League games on Canadian Thanksgiving, but according to Justin, Melanie, and Brock, people really prefer to watch the NFL games on Sundays.
So, do Canadians celebrate American Thanksgiving?
While this answer is mostly no, some Canadians do skip work/school to watch the big NFL games on that fourth Thursday of November. Additionally, American Thanksgiving is thought to be synonymous with Black Friday, but Canada doesn't go as hard as the US (since they have boxing day after Christmas to fill their shopping needs). So, Canadians don't really celebrate American Thanksgiving, but they are happy to take the days off of school.
What's different about the food?
You were right — Canadians only eat poutine and drink maple syrup on Thanksgiving! (JK). I wish (and would be so in for that), but all in all, Americans and Canadians generally eat the same things on the big day (turkey, apple pie, green beans, mashed potatoes — you name it, they have it). Sugar pie (which is basically maple syrup pie —cuz, duh, Canada), might be swapped in for pumpkin, but for the most part, our plates look generally the same.
#SpoonTip: If sugar pie sounds too sweet, try these Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Cookies to tone it down a bit.
Thanks to Montreal and Windsor natives Justin, Melanie, and Brock, now you know what to do for Thanksgiving when you move to Canada after these elections. Just remember, don't get caught giving thanks for the Mayflower, it's JDBDP you should be acknowledging when you get your Canadian citizenship.