Thanksgiving is the holiday that, for many, symbolizes family, food and feelings of being very fortunate. It’s a long weekend that kick-starts the fall season, and is traditionally a time when relations get together, usually celebrating with a huge feast. But why exactly are we celebrating?

 Though Thanksgiving has officially been observed in Canada since 1879, traditionally to commemorate the harvest and other blessings from the year gone by, it actually predates this time. Traditions of giving thanks were observed long before the arrival of European settlers in North America. Many First Nations communities across the country have traditions of thanksgiving for surviving winter and for receiving crops and game in reward for their hard work. These traditions may include feasting, prayer, dance, and other ceremonies, depending on the heritage and observances of each community.

 In terms of European influences, unlike Thanksgiving in the United States, here in Canada, Thanksgiving corresponds to the British and continental European harvest festival, which is a liturgical festival. Churches are decorated with pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest goodies, and people come together to give thanks for the harvest.

 According to some historians, a variation of a Thanksgiving celebration can be traced back to 1579, when Martin Frobisher, an English seaman and privateer, voyaged to the New World in search of the Northwest Passage. Tales of French settlers holding feasts of thanks on arrival in the New World have also been documented.

 During and after the American Revolution, American refugees remaining loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States up to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving north, hence why the turkey, pumpkin, and squash are such big symbols of modern-day Thanksgiving here.

 For many years before it was declared a national holiday in 1879, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November. From 1879 onward, Thanksgiving Day has been observed every year, with the date initially being a Thursday in November. Nowadays, Thanksgiving is held on the second Monday of October every year and has been this way ever since Canadian Parliament declared it so on January 31, 1957. This year Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Monday 11th October.

Whilst the actual Thanksgiving holiday falls on the Monday, most people hold their celebrations on the Saturday or Sunday, with Sunday being the most popular day. Turkey and all the trimmings is traditionally served, and many Canadians settle down to watch the CFL’s Thanksgiving Day Classic. 

So whether you’re busy shutting down the cottage, preparing a delicious family feast, or just spending all of your time raking those leaves, let us take care of all your floral needs. From wreaths to table decorations, and gifts to floral centrepieces, we’ve got you covered here at Oleander. Just visit our website or give us a call on (416) 236 8273 and we’ll be happy to help! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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