Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend!  It’s the first long weekend after school has started and many students (and parents) look forward to this break.  But, what is Canadian Thanksgiving, how does it differ from American Thanksgiving, and why is it in October??

I grew up in an American compound overseas and then went to school in the US for seven years, so I have celebrated American Thanksgiving at least seven times.  It is truly a big celebration!  The memories are very real and I know that the fourth Thursday in November means a few things for our American neighbors:  the start of the holiday season, the busiest travel weekend of the year, family and lots of food, being grateful, parades, and the Dallas Cowboys game on TV.  In Canada, our Thanksgiving is a little bit different (although we do have Oktoberfest parades, fall festivals, and Canadian Football League games).

For starters, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October (which happens to coincide with Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the US), not in November.  It is not necessarily a busy travel weekend and we don’t all celebrate on the Monday – we can celebrate any day of the weekend, hence the ‘light’ traffic.  And, believe it or not, only federally regulated companies are off for this holiday in the Atlantic Provinces, where Thanksgiving is an optional holiday. Continue reading