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Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and, yes, it’s pretty much a rip-off of American Thanksgiving


The odds are high that you, as a human being this planet, do not spend much time thinking about the Canadian holiday of Thanksgiving. But given that today actually is Canadian Thanksgiving, it's possible that on this fine fall day you have thought of our northerly neighbors. You likely have one question, too.

Is Canadian Thanksgiving just a rip-off of American Thanksgiving?

Basically, yes. And I am Canadian, so I can say this!

Abraham Lincoln created American Thanksgiving in 1863. Canadian Thanksgiving did not become a holiday until 16 years later, when the Canadian parliament declared it such in 1879. Canada used to observe Thanksgiving on a Thursday in November, too. But in 1957, it decided to break out on its own and celebrate on the second Monday in October.

Canadians do the same kind of stuff on Thanksgiving that Americans do — eat turkey, watch football (what, you haven't heard the esteemed Canadian Football League?), and take a day off work.

However, there is one caveat here. Canadians do stake a claim to the first historical Thanksgiving. The very first Thanksgiving celebration by Europeans in North America actually happened in Canada, when an explorer named Martin Frobisher returned from his third attempt to find the Northwest Passage in 1578.

Frobisher is not as robust a historical icon as, say, Abraham Lincoln. He is described by his biographer, James McDermott, as "a man possessed with the absolute will to achieve, yet lacking the intuitive qualities of the true achiever." McDermott goes on to note that Frobisher "promised much and achieved nothing of great note ... making him a somewhat sympathetic character."

Still, it is believed that his Thanksgiving celebration happened in 1578 — 43 years prior to the Pilgrims' celebration in Plymouth Rock in 1621 (in current-day Massachusetts).

So while Frobisher is not good for much, he does allow Canada to claim coming up with Thanksgiving before the United States did.

And, you might ask, what do Canadians have to be grateful for? So many things, which you can read about right here.

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