National Observance: Happy Turkey Day, O Canada!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 10: It’s Turkey Day, Canadian style! Haul out those cornucopias and pass the potatoes, because today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Since 1957, the second Monday in October has been recognized by all Canadian faiths as Thanksgiving Day; the idea of a harvest celebration, however, is centuries old. First Nations of Canada—along with the Native Americans of the Americas—have held festivals of dancing, rituals and harvest activities for centuries. (Wikipedia has details.)

Canada’s Thanksgiving tradition recalls a treacherous 1578 voyage to the Northwest Passage, during which settlers were given an uplifting sermon once they were reunited on land. This sermon encouraged the settlers to be thankful for their “miraculous deliverance from those so dangerous places.”

Today, Thanksgiving in Canada is still about giving thanks—but it also includes the Thanksgiving Day Classic: turkey. As in the U.S., families customarily travel over the three-day weekend. U.S. Customs and Border Protection remind travelers to have legal documentation ready when approaching the border. (Get a tip sheet from

For those staying at home, enjoy the turkey! Just don’t expect a Canadian “Black Friday” shopping extravaganza tomorrow.

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email