How to celebrate a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving

We’ve all seen the Thanksgiving specials from American TV shows. However, a Canadian Thanksgiving actually looks a little different. If you’re in Canada on the 10th of October (or just fancy having a mini-thanksgiving at home) here are a few tips on making the most of it and how it differs from its American counterpart.

Don’t get the dates mixed up

To start with Canadian Thanksgiving is held earlier in the year. It’s always the second Monday of October, and in 2016 it will fall on the 10th. 

The reason for it being earlier than the American holiday is because its origins and meaning are different. Some historians say Canada actually celebrated Thanksgiving first in 1578 (40 years before America), after English explorer Martin Frobisher completed the Northwest Passage despite freak storms and the loss of one of his ships.

With Canada’s location being further north, the harvest season is a bit earlier than their American neighbours, and thus the celebration happens a little earlier.

Eat all the food (with a Canadian Twist)                          

It’s known around the world that Thanksgiving Dinner is just as big a deal as Christmas dinner. And the menu sometimes looks similar too. A traditional Thanksgiving menu will include stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweetcorn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie. However, Canadians put a small twist on it.

The turkey is still the focal point of the Thanksgiving dinner table, however, Canadians use bread crumbs or rice for stuffing. And typically bake their sweet potatoes or mash them into a puree. As a side dish, you’ll find wheat-based rolls of bread, rather than muffins or sliced loaves.

To finish with, it’s pumpkin pie. Canadian pumpkin pie is spicy, with ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

Watch Canadian Football

The Canadian Football League usually holds the Thanksgiving Day Classic in Montreal over the holiday weekend. It’s a doubleheader that is aired on national TV and attracts millions of viewers.

Or watch the live parade

If you’re not a football fan, you can switch over to the annual Thanksgiving Day parade held by the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Hosted in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, the event is broadcast on TV and includes local performers, civic figures in the region, and traditional dancers.

Put the shopping bags away

Black Friday is another tradition we’re familiar with from across the pond, but it’s not spread into Canada. Something Canada shares in common with the UK is Boxing Day hailing as the country’s busiest shopping day. So if you’re in Canada over Thanksgiving, put down your shopping bags and enjoy your holiday.

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