Food is a huge part of Canadian traditions during Thanksgiving. Even though the holiday falls on a Monday every year, we get together any day of the long weekend for a big meal that consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie for dessert. The yearly feast was influenced by the American version of Thanksgiving. It was officially declared a Canadian holiday on January 31st, 1957. The tradition does not have to be followed by all Canadians, its idea is to be thankful, spend time with family and enjoy a delicious meal. What else do we do to embrace the abundance of the season?
Not all cultures in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving the same way but they all have two things in common: food and family reunion.
In university, I came home every Thanksgiving. One year, I invited my roommate over. As an international student from Nigeria, she had never celebrated or experienced a classic Canadian Thanksgiving. She said that the comfortable environment made her feel welcomed and it was nice to see how the preparation differed from her family’s traditional standards. Her family typically gathers for Christmas dinner, with the cooking and cleaning done by the women, while the men wait to be fed. My father is a very talented chef so he is generally the one doing the heavy lifting while everyone else pitches in where they can. This new dynamic gave her a different perspective. We both enjoyed celebrating together along with a delicious meal. Sharing a meal with others outside of your family brings out the holiday spirit of thankfulness in full force.
Another huge part of Thanksgiving is about expressing gratitude. Some families will go around the table at dinner and share what they’re thankful for but, this isn’t something I have ever done with my family. We slowly come together throughout the day to the smell of turkey dinner and gather in the living room where we talk, play games and drink. One of my brothers and I sometimes bake dessert after dinner; it’s a fun thing to do if our dad gives us any access to the kitchen. Some people keep their gratitude and blessings private but think of them throughout the weekend. For Canadians, Thanksgiving has so many different meanings; it can be just about being grateful to your family and friends or it can be a day to reflect on the blessings you’ve had in the past year. The key ideas around this time are recognizing what you’re thankful for and spending time with loved ones or close friends.
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