Thanksgiving in Canada is known simply as Thanksgiving — or action de grâce! if you’re fancy. It’s never called “Canadian Thanksgiving.” National adjectives are reserved for American Thanksgiving. Similarly, Canadian bacon is a myth, created to out American operatives.
In America, Thanksgiving is a celebration rooted in colonialism, sugarcoating the bloody interactions between pilgrims and indigenous people. In Canada, it has nothing to do with pilgrims. We sugarcoat our colonial history on other days, like Canada Day and Sir John A. McDonald Day, which celebrates our first and most racist prime minister.
American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November, which is absurd. Who has a holiday fixed on Thursday? Canadians, being sensible, hold Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, allowing for a long weekend of gluttony. Canadians traditionally eat first Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, followed by in-law Thanksgiving dinner (or step-family Thanksgiving dinner in some regions) on Sunday, and leftover Thanksgiving dinner on Monday.
Canadians don’t partake in Black Friday.* The day following Thanksgiving is known as Regular Tuesday. Canadians celebrate Regular Tuesday by scoffing at Americans and their crass, commercialized holidays, bragging that they’ll wait until Boxing Day (the post-Christmas holiday once meant to give alms to the poor and now a Canadian shopping holiday) to get their discounted HDTV.
*Unless the dollar’s at par, in which case all Canadians call in sick on Black Friday and drive to Buffalo (known traditionally as a Buffalo Jump).
The Thanksgiving dinner in Canada bears little resemblance to its American counterpart. Yes, there’s turkey and the usual fixings, but Canadian law mandates that Thanksgiving meals include butter tarts, blueberry grunt, and Margaret Atwood’s famous bourbon pecan cake from her 1987 Canlit Foodbook. The bulk of the Canadian literary icon’s fortune is said to be derived from royalties from this state-mandated recipe.
Arts & Crafts
American schoolchildren celebrate Thanksgiving by making hand turkeys wearing pilgrim hats. In Canada, Thanksgiving is rooted, in part, in an 1872 celebration honoring the health of the Prince of Wales. As such, Canadian children celebrate their history with hand Princes of Wales.
Americans spend their Thanksgiving holiday watching American football. Canadians don’t do anything of the sort — they watch football instead (no national adjective, see?). Football in Canada is nothing like in America. It features three downs, a slightly larger field, and something called a rouge — a rare and incredibly underwhelming single point score.
The annual Thanksgiving parade is a quintessential American tradition. But in Canada, a “Thanksgiving parade” is a term for an incredibly lewd act. Under no circumstances should you ever invite a Canadian to a “Thanksgiving parade” or ask them what they think of the “Thanksgiving float.”
Americans are largely insular and unaware of the Canadian holiday. In contrast, Canadians are a fragile, passive-aggressive lot who will silently hold a grudge against any American who doesn’t acknowledge their very distinct cultural celebration.