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Happy Thanksgiving from staff at The Nelson Daily

Contributor
By Contributor
October 6th, 2012

Since 1957 Canadians have been celebrating a holiday for Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.

It is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

The native peoples of the Americas held ceremonies and festivals to celebrate the completion and bounty of the harvest long before European explorers and settlers arrived in what is now Canada.

Early European thanksgivings were held to give thanks for some special fortune. An early example is the ceremony the explorer Martin Frobisher held in 1578 after he had survived the long journey in his quest to find a northern passage from Europe to Asia.

Many thanksgivings were held following noteworthy events during the 18th century.

Refugees fleeing the civil war in the United States brought the custom of an annual thanksgiving festival to Canada.

From 1879, Thanksgiving Day was held every year but the date varied and there was a special theme each year. The theme was the “Blessings of an abundant harvest” for many years.

However, Queen Victoria’s golden and diamond jubilees and King Edward VII’s coronation formed the theme in later years.

From the end of the First World War until 1930, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day were celebrated on the Monday closest to November 11, the anniversary of the official end of hostilities in World War I.

In 1931, Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving Day was moved to a Monday in October.

—With files from Timeanddate.com

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