The unknown history of Thanksgiving

8 10 2012

Now I know, today is Thanksgiving and everyone is too busy catching up with distant family and stuffing themselves with delicious food to be online reading random blogs about history. But maybe you will get around to reading this sometime as you recover from all that turkey in the coming week.

cheesecake

The amazing food that always comes with Thanksgiving is usually at the foremost of everyone’s minds during this holiday!

What DO we know about Thanksgiving?

I find we Canadians don’t really seem to care so much about the history of this holiday so much as we are concerned about the food.

We know the what: turkey, pumpkin pie and thankfulness.

We know the when: second Monday of October

We know where and who: Canada and Canadians

But have you ever wondered about the “why?” we have this holiday?

I did and so one day…I did some digging. The history behind Thanksgiving in Canada is actually rather interesting.

The unknown history of Canadian Thanksgiving 

As tradition today has it, Canadian Thanksgiving DOES celebrate the harvest and has ever since 1959 when Parliament officially designated it. The second Monday in October was to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. But Thanksgiving has been celebrated in Canada long before that in all different ways and for all different reasons!

For instance, the Natives have all had harvest celebrations throughout their long history in the country.

The first thanksgiving by Euro-people in Canada began with  Martin Frobisher who was an explorer and was celebrating his safe return to Newfoundland in 1578.

Then there were the French settlers who celebrated the Order of Good Cheer to keep the citizens content throughout the harsh Canadian winters.

After the American Revolution those loyal to the British brought their own thanksgiving traditions over to Canada .

The first time Thanksgiving was a civic holiday was April 5, 1872, in celebration of the recovery of the Prince of Wales from an illness. After 1879 it was observed annually but announced each year on a different day and for different reasons for which to be thankful for.

So really, we do have quite an interesting history surrounding our thanksgiving. But at the end of the day, it’s always been about thankfulness, “to God, the Queen and the benefits believed to flow from both” as Canada.com puts it.  

Sunset, ocean

Another beautiful Thanksgiving day sets into history.





Can a turkey tweet?

6 10 2012

Thanksgiving is here (for those of us in Canada) and of course the social media is all a-twitter. Yes indeed Twitter is a great source of all sorts of Thanksgiving news. More than just good wishes for the holiday, there are tweets about traffic, health stories, recipes and advertisements. I’ve collected a few here to get you in the spirit of the holiday… if you haven’t yet joined the crowd.

Thanksgiving food safety

Ottawa Health tweeted to warn about the dangers of feasting on undercooked meats. Their article gives some quick facts and then tips for making sure that your delicious meal is safe for everyone to consume.

Recipes

The Vega Team gave a link to a whole selection of vegan thanksgiving recipes on Pinterest. This pumpkin cheesecake caught my eye!

Pumpkin cheesecake pinned by Sarah Dougherty has that characteristic Thanksgiving appeal

Pumpkin not your thing? Style at Home suggests a classic apple pie in their tweet.

 

Putting the “giving” in Thanksgiving

The Union Gospel Mission reminds everyone to build community and contribute to those in need this season. UGM is an urban relief center serving Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds this season.

The Salvation Army also gives people some ideas of how to reach out this weekend. In some ways, giving is a true sign of being thankful.

And the “thanks”

And of course, the heartwarming #thingsIamthankfulfor. Truly, it is a delight to read through these posts and realize how truly blessed we are to live in this country.

So what are you thankful for this year?  If you need some help, check out Twitter as just one way to be reminded of all the blessings you have.





If the unborn are people…

27 09 2012

On Wednesday Motion 312, put forward by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, was defeated 203-91 in the House of Commons. Woodworth’s proposed twelve-man committee, dedicated to the study of when human life begins, won’t have a chance to commence the research and we may never know what they would have discovered.

We know who, what, where, when…but why?

Claiming the motion was purely scientific, Woodworth insisted the bill was not about criminalizing abortion.

But that’s how everyone saw it.

Stephen Harper votes against Motion 312
Photo credit: Vancouver Sun http://bit.ly/STxVmY

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper, hands tied due to his promises during the election, voted against the motion but allowed his caucus to vote freely. But no one expected the bill to pass, in fact its very presence in the house enraged a large majority of the public due to its supposed connections to the abortion debate.

If the motion was so doomed to failure, why the uproar?

Why the almost 20, 000 signatures on a petition against the bill?

Why the immediate reaction of fear from the Pro Choice supporters of Canada and the anger of women’s rights groups?

Answers

People had a legitimate fear of what the study would have discovered.

As reported by the Vancouver Sun “if the legal definition of when one becomes a human being were to be adjusted so that a fetus is declared to be a legal person at some earlier state of gestation, then the homicide laws would apply [to abortion]” (Conservative whip Gordon O’Connor)

This is true. If the study changed the definition of when human life begins, everything would change. It would have to. So pro-abortionists do have a reason to hate this bill.

But what if our criminal code is wrong? What if the study did find that a baby, at every stage of its growth, is human, a legal person (a view defended by Christian apologetics organization Answers in Genesis) ? Does the enourmous backlash generated by this bill reveal our true colours? Deep down do we question our current policy of abortion?

And if the unborn are people…

This raises an even more important question: if we do surmise that a fetus is in fact human…how can we allow our country go on killing unborn children?

I am not attacking women and their rights, but I am standing firm on every human’s right to life. Yes there are many unfortunate instances that could be seemingly solved by destroying the problem or getting rid of the evidence, but challenges are part of our world. Overcoming these challenges rather than avoiding them, helps us to grow and learn.

Who gives you the right to choose life or death for another, even if he or she is not yet walking the street beside you?





Could Canadians make America better?

25 09 2012

Let’s be honest. As Canadians, we are generally a happy group (in fact a new study ranks us second-happiest people in the world!). We are happy to laugh at ourselves and to laugh at others. We aren’t known for patriotism, military, or media but we don’t really mind all that much. We’re usually pretty content with who we are. Don’t get me wrong, we can get pretty fired up over things…and I don’t just mean hockey.

I find that one of the biggest topics of passionate discussion up here in the north is…the politics of our southern neighbours. Ask any Canadian about current political news in Canada and they will likely give you a blank stare but ask them about their views of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and most citizens can give you an earful.

the “Canada Party” proposes to take over the American government and fix all their problems. Credit: http://thetyee.ca/ArtsAndCulture/2012/09/21/Canada-Party/

Why is this? Perhaps it is simply because our government issues are so tragically uninteresting whereas the scandal and inadequacies of the United States are so much more fun to expound upon. In our country it’s just the same old, same old – but in America! There is always some new bit of juicy news.

I think if any one of us would take a few steps back we would realize that we are being completely ridiculous. I constantly hear people rant and rave over their perceptions of American politics; we read biased news articles bashing this politician or another; our bored minds eagerly lap up the humorous criticisms portrayed in clever America-slamming comics or YouTube videos but what do we really know? And why do we care anyways?

I’m beginning to wonder if we “care” simply because it doesn’t cost us anything. Perhaps the root of all the raving is actually laziness. We investigate and probe into the depths of American problems all the while completely ignoring the state of our own country. We remain uneducated on the issues facing our country and its government all the while proposing “obvious” solutions to save our friends across the border.

Come on Canada. Wake up. Put some energy into things you can actually DO rather than just talk about. No matter how great all your opinions are regarding the upcoming US elections, you still can’t vote in them.