Is Thanksgiving a Public Holiday?
Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in Canada, according to Holidays 2025, which falls on the second Monday of October. All businesses, stores, and shops as well as all schools, and universities remain closed on this day. Public Transportations also do not follow their usual route. However, the holiday is optional in the provinces of Atlantic Canada, but the festival is still recognized and celebrated. Thanksgiving in New Brunswick is a prescribed day of rest, whereas retail stores remain closed in Nova Scotia as designated. Celebrations in Quebec are on a smaller scale due to the Protestant history of the province. Nevertheless, federal government offices do not open on this day, no matter which area.
Thanksgiving History in Canada
Thanksgiving Day is about offering our thanks for all that we have received in life. It is a day of celebrating all that we have, everything that we have been blessed with and often overlook on regular days. The second Monday of October is a declared holiday in Canada for this commemoration, and this year, 13 October marks the day.
Thanksgiving history in Canada states that when Sir Martin Frobisher arrived in Canada from England in 1578, he celebrated this feat, along with his crew. They ate salt beef and mushy peas for merrymaking and expressed their gratitude over safely traversing across the ocean in this manner. This was because their expedition had been beset with troubles in the form of ice and freak storms. They even lost a ship to this. Thus, when they finally reached Frobisher Bay, Nunavut, the minister and preacher on-board, Mayster Wolfall gave a sermon highlighting that they should thank God for the safe arrival.
The traditions of Canadian Thanksgiving were further established after 1604 when French settlers arrived in the country. Then, in 1763 again, the day was commemorated and gratitude expressed for the Seven Years’ War to have finally ended. Refugees from the Colonies during the American Revolution brought more customs for Thanksgiving in Canada with them. After that, in 1872, the festival was celebrated for the Prince of Wales who recovered from a severe illness. Throughout these years, the celebration of Thanksgiving Day in Canada continued on and off, at different dates, and even months.
Finally, the day was declared to be a national holiday in 1879, and the second Monday of October chosen as the uniform date in 1957. As per the Parliament, Canadian Thanksgiving was the day to thank God for the blessings of a plentiful harvest in the country.
Public Life on Thanksgiving in Canada
The fundamental customs and traditions of Thanksgiving in Canada are the same as that of Thanksgiving in the USA. The feast (dinner or supper) is still a significant part of the celebration, and Thanksgiving Turkey is a substantial portion of that meal. Although, replacing the turkey with some other meat is not considered too problematic in Canada, unlike the USA. The menu for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner also includes stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet corn, various types of squashes, and Brussels sprouts.
There is also pumpkin or apple pie and baked ham. Additionally, regional dishes and desserts, like Jiggs dinner (boiled meat) with split-pea pudding, salmon, butter tarts, wild game, and Nanaimo bars also make the cut. Although Thanksgiving in Canada is officially celebrated on a Monday, families prefer having their get-togethers and dinner on any day of the long weekend.
Football matches are another significant tradition of Canadian Thanksgiving, and the Canadian Football League plays two games, broadcasted back-to-back – a doubleheader, one of the only two on Mondays. Apart from this, is the Thanksgiving parade, held by Kitchener–Waterloo Oktoberfest.
The long weekend brings numerous opportunities for outdoor activities for Canadians before the snowy winter finally sets in, and hiking and fishing (without the snow and ice) become impossible.
Thanksgiving Day Observances
|2019||Mon||14 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2020||Mon||12 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2021||Mon||11 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2022||Mon||10 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2023||Mon||9 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2024||Mon||14 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
|2025||Mon||13 October||Thanksgiving Day||National Holiday|
1. How is the Canadian Thanksgiving different from the American festival?
To begin with, Thanksgiving in Canada falls in October, not November, like in the USA. Moreover, this celebration is not immediately associated with Black Friday or any other such shopping fest. But most importantly, it is not too much a big deal in Canada as in America and Turkey is not always the central figure.
2. Which came first Canadian or American Thanksgiving?
The earliest records of the Canadian Thanksgiving date back to 1578, almost half a century before the Feast in Plymouth took place. Moreover, Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated in October, whereas the festival falls in November in the USA.
3. What are some symbols associated with Thanksgiving in Canada?
Thanksgiving in Canada celebrates a bountiful harvest, and therefore the symbols associated with the day are related to the same. These include pumpkin, turkeys, and ears of corn – things they grow, but also a cornucopia filled with fruits and vegetables. This signifies bounty and plenty, as per the ancient Greeks.
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is Thanksgiving Day in 2025? The date is 13 October, Monday.
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