Well it’s that time of year again, Thanksgiving weekend! What?? Yup, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada. But here’s the thing, I am a Canadian who has spent at least half of her life (probably more than that by now) living outside of Canada, and the reality of Thanksgiving is that most people only know about the one in the United States (at least that has been my experience). For most of my life people have either been in shock if I mention it’s Thanksgiving or they can’t understand why I don’t celebrate it in November. So every year at this time I’m faced with the decision of do I celebrate and if so then how? I won’t have a long weekend (Thanksgiving is on Monday but obviously it’s not a holiday here in Puerto Rico), I can’t find a turkey, and I don’t even know any other Canadians here (my husband isn’t Canadian either). For the past few years it has coincided that my husband has been on a business trip and hasn’t even been here on this date so I haven’t celebrated the past 2 or 3 years. But this year he is here, yay! So yes, I will celebrate! Of course it won’t be quite the same since I have no family gathering to attend, but we will celebrate nonetheless! So how do you celebrate when you don’t have a turkey? Simple, you make meat pie! Ok so I don’t know if that’s Canadian tradition or just a my family tradition. We always had turkey, meat pie and mashed potatoes available in abundance. So meat pie it is!
Sometimes it can be a bit strange to celebrate a holiday that no one else around you is celebrating, but it’s still a great way to keep up those traditions. This will be my son’s first Thanksgiving and while he probably won’t remember it, I still think it’s important to start passing on our traditions from a young age. Thanksgiving in particular is a holiday in which we give Thanks for all of the blessings in our lives, well with the arrival of our baby boy we have a lot to be thankful for this year. So while we won’t have the big family gathering we will still celebrate, we will still give thanks, and honestly we will still enjoy it.
To anyone else who lives in a foreign country and wants to celebrate your traditions, do it! It’s great to keep up with the holidays and traditions that you love, even if it’s not the same, it does give you a little piece of home.
If anyone is wondering what the distinction is between Thanksgiving in Canada and in the United Sates, here are the three main differences:
1-Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October, in the United States it’s on the fourth Thursday of November.
2-Canadian Thanksgiving has to do with the harvest, in the United States it originated with the pilgrims and the Mayflower (however, today both holidays are to celebrate giving thanks).
3-There is no black Friday in Canada. Every year, in the United States retailers prepare for a massive day of sales the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, this doesn’t exist in Canada. There are still sales in Canada, but the biggest shopping day is actually reserved for boxing day, the day after Christmas.