Although Thanksgiving is a tradition most commonly associated with the USA, the national holiday is actually also celebrated in Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia.
For people in Canada, Thanksgiving is actually today, Monday October 11. However in the US Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 25 this year.
If the celebrations have the same name, why the different dates?
Here’s what you need to know about Canadian Thanksgiving – and how it differs from the day in the USA.
Why do the US and Canada celebrate Thanksgiving Day on different dates?
While American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year, in Canada they celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.
This is because the Canadian Thanksgiving is closely linked to the harvest festival we are more familiar with in the UK. So it makes sense for them to celebrate Thanksgiving in autumn – or in ‘the Fall’.
The first national Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated in the Province of Canada in 1859, although the Indigenous peoples of Canada had been celebrating the fall harvest long before that.
Whereas in the US, the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November dates back to 1863 when President Lincoln declared that all Americans should: ‘set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.’
In the US, the tradition of Thanksgiving is linked specifically to the Pilgrims and settling in America rather than a successful harvest in general.
Plus, although today is Thanksgiving in Canada, there won’t be a public holiday in the country as there will be in the US next month.
So even though Canada may have been celebrating Thanksgiving before their American neighbours, the United States go much larger in terms of their celebrations on the day.
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Author: Rachael Martin