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Tale of American, Canadian Thanksgiving

Tale of American, Canadian Thanksgiving
Similarities exist but holiday marked by differences, too

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) - Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving Oct. 14 and details of how it is different than the American version of the holiday were highlighted in reports Monday.

The American version of the holiday comes about six weeks later on Nov. 28.

The origins are different, too.

In 1578, British explorer Sir Martin Frobisher left England and arrived in the far north in Nunavet, Canada. The crew ate a meal of peas and salt beef and gave thanks for their safe passage. That became the historical root of the Canadian holiday.

The Pilgrims also left from England, but did not touch land at Plymouth, Massachusetts until 1621. That marked the beginning of Thanksgiving in the U.S.

However, the Americans were first to make it a holiday, about a century before their northern neighbor in 1879.

Both countries see turkey as the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but Canadians are more likely to add in a meal unique to their province.

In Newfoundland a Jigg’s dinner is often prepared. It usually features boiled beef and root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

Unlike the American version, Thanksgiving is not a nationwide holiday in Canada except for federal employees. The provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia opt out. It is still considered a holiday in those four provinces, but since those who are not federal workers do not get paid for the day, the meal is usually held the Sunday before Thanksgiving Monday.

Another difference occurs on the gridiron. American Thanksgiving is celebrated with National Football League games. The Canadian Football League has no games scheduled Oct. 17.

Finally, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with Black Friday the day after the holiday, arguably the biggest shopping day of the year.

While Black Friday, so named because it is supposed to be the day retailers rub out the red ink and turn into black signaling profits, has made inroads in Canada, the traditional big shopping day for Canadians is Boxing Day, Dec. 26.

The day gets it name from a practice in England of upper class employers giving boxes of presents or money to their employees the day after Christmas.

Black Friday and Boxing Day feature huge discounts on merchandise for shoppers.

While most Canadians and Americans will celebrate the day, Native Americans have a different perspective about the day they call the Day of Mourning, or Unthanksgiving Day.

It is marked by demonstrations to commemorate the day the Pilgrims landed and began their "genocidal acts against the indigenous tribes," including the 1637 Thanksgiving massacre of Wampanoag people in which an estimated 700 tribe members were slaughtered.

The protests are intended to highlight the myth that Native Americans and pilgrims lived together peacefully, say organizers.

source: News Feed
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