Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving, Action de Grâce, or the Black Friday Creep?

Cure girl at the dinner table during Thanksgiving day.While Thanksgiving is a major North American holiday, not everyone celebrates it the same way. What the holiday means to you may depend on where you live and what your background is.

The United States: Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, American Thanksgiving has cultural roots in the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts. There is of course much controversy about their treatment of the Native Americans who helped them achieve their harvest. Like Christmas, “Turkey Day” is a family holiday marked by mega feasting and football watching. The final hours of the holiday now kick off Black Friday pre-Christmas shopping madness, commonly known as the Black Friday Creep.

English Canada: Unbeknownst to most Canucks, Canadian Thanksgiving has a separate history, dating back to Martin Frobisher and his crew who gave thanks for their safe return to Newfoundland after seeking the Northwest Passage. This event arguably marks the first North American Thanksgiving. Different thanksgiving services commemorated various events, including the end of the Seven Years’ War and the fall harvest, until the day settled into a family holiday that Canadians celebrate on the second Monday in October. The celebration typically involves massive amounts of turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings.

French Canada: Quebec’s Jour de l’Action de Grâce is quite different from its anglo counterpart. Francophones may not roll out the stuffed turkeys, but they do enjoy having a holiday. And that’s just what Action de Grâce is—a day off, a good excuse for a long weekend. In fact, I think you’d be hard‑pressed to find anyone who would object to that!

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

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