Many of our American friends are confused when we say that we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, but that’s because we follow a different tradition for Thanksgiving—nothing to do with Pilgrims coming over to America.
Our Thanksgiving usually happens on the second Monday in October, and it celebrates the harvest (and the blessings that we have received over the past year). It has been officially celebrated in Canada since November on 1879, but was changed to October in 1957.
We often decorate our churches with a harvest or autumnal theme, using fruits and vegetables from the garden, colourful leaves, and flowers. While the holiday is on the Monday, we often celebrate with our families on Sunday with a big meal together. Many of us eat turkey (not a rare occurrence in Newfoundland!), but this is the time of the year when we break out the pumpkin pies and other things that are considered more fall or winter foods.
Of course, thanksgiving meals were held in Canada long before it was Canada, and there are some accounts of such meals from the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher, who came from England to find a Northwest Passage to Asia. We also have accounts of the explorer Samuel de Champlain (1604) holding feasts of thanksgiving, often sharing food with First Nations neighbours.
A prayer for Thanksgiving:
O Lord, fill us, we pray, with adoring gratitude to you for all that you do for us and for those in our lives; fill us with love, joy, peace, and all the good fruits of the Spirit. Amen.