Canadian dating traditions

More germane than this story is the meaty celebration hosted by Samuel de Champlain in Port-Royal on Nov.14, 1606, which saw Europeans and Indigenous peoples breaking bread together.

Some cite a celebratory meal held by Martin Frobisher upon his arrival in 1578, but since that involved tinned beef and mushy peas, that feels like a stretch.For about 250 years after the mythical Plymouth Rock event—a controversial story that some argue should be marked as a day of mourning since, among other things, the new settlement was on the site of a region decimated by plague brought on by European contact—Thanksgiving was a minor, loose, regional tradition that was celebrated on whatever day local authorities picked, in the states where anyone even bothered with it at all (New England, mainly).It might never have franchised out and come to take on such cultural significance if it weren’t for Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of , a women’s magazine that promoted abolition, white wedding dresses, Christmas trees, a focus on the family, domestic science and the elevation of Thanksgiving to a national holiday with a set, universal date, so that the entire nation could pray and celebrate together.Most of it, however, is surely owing to the fact that Americans feel ownership over this holiday, believing it grew, organically, out of a specific historical event that took place on “American” soil.After all, the Plymouth Rock story, which frames a congenial harvest feast shared by Wampanoag peoples and the Pilgrim settlers in November 1621 as America’s first Thanksgiving, is taught early and often.And in 1865, for example, the ran an editorial calling for prayers to thank “Divine Providence” for the “special favours vouchsafed to our country during the past season,” which included a good harvest and the end of a decade of economic turmoil.It also called for a standardization of services across the country to give it a more “national character,” so that the impact of the prayers could be greater.Why you would want this particular story to be the foundation of a national holiday is mystifying, especially since the modern version of Canadian Thanksgiving in no way grew out of that early dinner theatre incident.Thanksgiving didn’t really take hold in Canada until the 19th century, which, surprisingly, is also when it became a popular tradition in the United States.The country that prays together, after all, stays together.In his paper, “‘Righteousness Exalteth the Nation’: Religion, Nationalism, and Thanksgiving Day in Ontario, 1859-1914,” historian Peter Stevens says that in Ontario, sermons for Canadian Thanksgiving—the date of which shifted until it was decided around the turn of the last century that outdoor sports should be part of the festivities, and November was too cold—sermons often focused on Canada’s moral superiority to the United States.


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