A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

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Pumpkins by stevenW6, Flickr

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada – seven weeks earlier than American Thanksgiving, and way too soon to be considered a logical extension of the holiday shopping season. No doubt our hasty celebration of Thanksgiving has something to do with the shorter growing season and earlier harvest provided by our more northerly latitude. Proclaimed by Parliament in 1879 as "a day of General Thanksgiving,” the celebration was not tied to the second Monday in October until 1957. The origins of Thanksgiving in Canada are variously credited to Martin Frobisher, who gave thanks for the well-being of his crew in the Eastern Arctic in 1578; Loyalists who brought the celebration to Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1750s; and a natural adoption of the European history of harvest celebrations.[1]

The antecedents of Thanksgiving Day in the United States are equally varied, springing from a combination of traditional English and European harvest celebrations, rituals of thanksgiving celebrated by the Wampanoag and other indigenous people, and of course the solemn religious observances of the Pilgrims and Puritans. Just as in Canada, it took some time for the United States to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. The first national American Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed in 1777. Later, Presidents Washington, Adams, Munroe and Lincoln also proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day holiday—but only one year at a time. American Thanksgiving didn’t become an established annual holiday until Franklin Delano Roosevelt claimed the next-to-the-last Thursday of November for it and, in 1941, Congress subsequently established the fourth Thursday of November as an annual national day of Thanksgiving.[2]

Regardless of the history of our respective Thanksgiving Days, there is merit in setting aside at least one day in the year to be thankful because gratitude is good for us.

So, in celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving, and in anticipation of American Thanksgiving, may we always have much to be thankful for—even if it’s the less obvious stuff!  


Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.


Author Unknown


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