"...a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."So reads the decree enacted by Parliament in 1879. Though the date has moved around a little - at first it was November 6, then it was the 3rd Monday in October - on January 31, 1957, the government proclaimed that National Thanksgiving be celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October.
|Sir Martin Frobisher|
But it is Martin Frobisher who is credited with celebrating the very first Thanksgiving in Canada. In 1578, the Englishman and privateer set out on his third voyage to the New World in search of the Northwest Passage. The expedition encountered fierce storms and heavy ice. One ship sank, crushed by sea ice, one ship deserted the fleet and sailed back to England and the remaining thirteen ships were scattered by the storms and currents. By some great miracle they all met up again at the anchorage established on Frobisher's first voyage - Frobisher Bay (now called Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut).
"... Mayster Wolfall, a learned man, appointed by her Majesties Counsel to be their minister and preacher, made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankful to God for their strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places ..."
While not a harvest Thanksgiving it was a celebration of homecoming and gratitude for being alive and protected.
Our family celebration was Saturday. As always, it was a feast of plenty, perhaps even a feast of "too much". I worked too much, I made too much, and we all ate too much. Yet it was also a cornucopia of good conversation, great laughs, and the best company.
It was a celebration of Thanksgiving for the blessings of life, for the great privilege it is to call Canada our home and native land.
Thanks be to God!
©2015 April Hoeller