Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada


Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada
With the exception of the stores that are pushing Christmas stuff, everyone seems to be focused on preparing for Thanksgiving. But at our house, we're kind of . . . not. And it's not because we are humbugs, or not thankful for all our blessings, or unpatriotic. It's more because we've already celebrated Thanksgiving at least once by this time of year! Not that it will stop us from celebrating again - we'll have a turkey dinner any time we can find an occasion for it!

Okay, and this is a minor point, but let's not call it "Canadian Thanksgiving". It's just Thanksgiving.

How is Thanksgiving in Canada different from Thanksgiving in the USA? In terms of how we celebrate - with family and food and football - it's very much the same! There are some things that are different though.

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada

In Canada, Thanksgiving is on the second Monday of October (the same as Columbus Day). This has been the official date since January 31, 1957, when Parliament proclaimed:
A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.
In 1879, Parliament had declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Many dates were used for Thanksgiving over the years, but the most popular remained a Monday in October. After WWI, Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. In 1931, the two became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day (which Americans observe as Veterans Day).

As far as we know, the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated in what is now the province of Newfoundland. In 1578, English explorer Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony to celebrate his expedition's safe arrival after a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. They were searching for a Northwest Passage to the Orient.

Not long before the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in what would become the United States (which was in 1621), French settlers who had crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts to give thanks. During the winter of 1606-1607, they formed "The Order of Good Cheer", a society to provide good food and good times to keep up the morale of the men during that long winter. Members took a turn at being "Chief Steward" and being responsible to see that everyone at the table was well provided for. They took their duties very seriously, hunting and fishing to add to the banquet, and making sure to present each dish with a good deal of pomp and ceremony. At the end of the day, he would present the collar of the Order and a cup of wine to his successor, and they would toast each other before closing with a prayer of thanks to God. Chiefs and members of the local native tribes were frequent honored guests.

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada
Samuel de Champlain

After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763, the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia held a special day of Thanksgiving.

And as settlers arrived in Canada from France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and other European countries, they brought with them their harvest celebration traditions. The United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada during the time of the American Revolution also brought their traditions with them as well - such as the turkey dinner.

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada
Happy Thanksgiving by KAT, 2014

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most of Canada, which means it is celebrated nationally, but in the Atlantic provinces, it is optional. Many Canadians do get the day off, and many of those who do work that day get paid overtime.

Speaking of working . . . since Thanksgiving is earlier in the year, and on a Monday, there really isn't a Black Friday shopping day in Canada. Certainly not to the same degree as in the US anyway! In recent years, many Canadian retailers have been trying to get in on the Black Friday bandwagon, and perhaps they are hoping to cash in on the Americans who may use their four day weekend to visit Canada and take advantage of the exchange rate. Still, it's not nearly the big event. Canada's biggest shopping day of the year remains Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). So picture Black Friday type sales, but also with Christmas stuff now on clearance, and with people returning and exchanging the Christmas gifts that didn't suit them!

Canadians like to watch football on Thanksgiving Day about as much as Americans do. We settle in front of our TVs to watch the Canadian Football League's Thanksgiving Day Classic. By the way, the CFL championship game, the Grey Cup, is played on the last Sunday in November, which happens to be the Thanksgiving long weekend in the US. (My team, the Calgary Stampeders, are in the playoffs, albeit as underdogs this year. Help me cheer them on!)

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada
Go Stamps!

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada
We like deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving!
Not a typical Canadian thing, but our family thing.

Now let's talk turkey. The traditional Thanksgiving feast in Canada is very likely to feature turkey, but some prefer a baked ham or a roast beef; and since it's a prime time for families to get together, the meal may also feature favorite dishes from the family's ethnic heritage. I did a very brief research and found claims that certain other dishes are different. Things like pumpkin pie being more spicy (like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg spicy) and sweet potatoes being baked or mashed rather than in a casserole. I'm not sure how much difference there really is - we never had baked or mashed sweet potatoes when I was growing up, at Thanksgiving or any time; we had sweet potato casserole. My personal preference is the nut topping rather than marshmallows though. There may be some truth to the claim that Canadians tend to choose bread stuffing, or perhaps rice stuffing, while the preferred stuffing in the US depends more on region - cornbread in the South, oysters in the Northeast, and so on.
Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada

One of my family's silly traditions was that my mom would try to take a picture of all of us around the table at the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner; and we kids would always 'freeze' with a fork or a glass to our mouths. The first few times, Mom would get frustrated because she wanted nice smiles for the camera, but we thought it was a great joke, and Mom just went with it so we did it year after year. A few years ago we were able to visit my parents at the end of November, and true to form, we got this classic Thanksgiving feast picture!

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada

Since we've long eaten all our leftovers from the first couple of Thanksgiving feasts this year, let me leave you with two of our favorite leftover recipes, neither of which are strictly Canadian, but both are so simple and so good. The first is a favorite with all my kids - in fact, when my oldest son was home for the weekend recently, he specifically requested the dish, and the recipe. It's a simple comfort food Turkey Potpie. And the second is a dessert dish that uses cranberry sauce. Well, it's a dessert, but honestly, I eat it for breakfast sometimes! It's got oatmeal, after all! 


Simple Turkey Potpie


2 cups (approximately) cooked turkey, cut up
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, sage, Old Bay, or whatever seasoning you like, to taste

2 cups Bisquick or other biscuit mix
3/4 cup milk

Combine the turkey, soup, milk, seasonings (and cooked vegetables, if you wish) in a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Heat in a 400*F oven until bubbling hot. Meanwhile, mix the biscuit mix and milk as directed for dumplings. Drop by spoonfuls onto the top of the hot meat and sauce. Return to the oven at 450*F for 15 minutes or until browned.

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada #recipeThanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada #recipe

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada #recipeThanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada #recipe

Cranberry Crumble

1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

whole cranberry sauce, about 14 oz or so

Mix together the oats, flour, sugar, and soda; mix in the butter until crumbly. Pack just over half of this mixture into a greased 9x9 pan. (Or use an 8x8 if you're short on cranberry sauce) Spread the cranberry sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Press the crumb topping down just slightly, using your hand. Back at 350*F for 35-40 minutes.

I think it's best eaten while warm, with a bit of vanilla ice cream or cream.

(Recipe for Cranberry Crumble)Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada #recipe

Accompanied by coffee, of course.

Thanksgiving Inspiration From Canada on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #Thanksgiving #Canada

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for so much more Thanksgiving Inspiration in this month's Crew Round-up, which will be live on Wednesday, November 11th.

Thanksgiving Inspiration Round-Upl

This post will also be linked at the Coffee & Conversation Link Party and at the Hearts For Home Blog Hop.  It's also linked at Try a New Recipe Tuesday, hosted by Home to 4 Kiddos

Mom's Morning Coffee

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3 comments:

Leah Courtney said...

This is interesting! I never knew much about Canadian Thanksgiving. :-)

Margaret Chind said...

My God-mother is Canadian so I'm always thinking about her about now!

Annette said...

That was great post. I'll have to do up a post like this next year. :) Kinda late now eh? :)

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