With all the talk today about fake news, how to spot it, and how to think critically when it comes to assessing information, consider this a topical and seasonal warning…
Thanksgiving is a big, so-fat-you-have-to-undo-your pants, lie.
The Thanksgiving stories and images which fed our young minds are fairy tales crafted for political gain.
The tradition of giving thanks, of course, has to be considered fundamental and universal, also largely pietistical.
Most cultures have always celebrated good fortune, one way or another.
Canada can’t help get the breezes from south of the border. Our images of Thanksgiving, to say nothing of a whole lot of other really other horrible ideas, are this way.
Days of thanksgiving, “down there,” were celebrated in various forms in different colonies and at different times beginning as early as the seventeenth century.
But it wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the American Civil War, that Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving, to be held each year in November. Its unfulfilled purpose – promoting unity.
Later Franklin Roosevelt tried to move the day, in order to better encourage retail sales during the depression. The name Franksgiving was coined.
This much is documented. Approximately 100 people left England on the Mayflower in 1620, seeking, of all absurdities, religious freedom. The next year those remaining alive (about half) held a three day feast and partied with native peoples. Those peoples had helped the newcomers adapt, taught them to tap for maple syrup and grow corn.
The guest contribution to this gathering included disease, weapons, imperialism and probably (shiver) brussel sprouts.
For the past 50 years Native Americans of New England have marked that country’s Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of the eleventh month with a protest named “The National Day of Mourning.”
Who wants pie?
Our nation’s Thanksgiving history is kinder and gentler. Of course.
According to The Canadian Encyclopedia the first Thanksgiving celebrated by Europeans here occurred in 1578, when Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew arrived safely in what is now Nunavut. They gave thanks for their survival by dining on salt beef, biscuits and mushy peas.
Various regions thereafter recognized days of thanksgiving, generally associated with harvest and the church. In 1872, after Confederation, Thanksgiving was declared a civic as opposed to a religious holiday and it was held April 5.
This first official Thanksgiving was offered in gratitude for the recovery of the Edward, Prince of Wales, after an illness.
(We were SUCH a suck-up colony.)
Parliament annually and occasionally arbitrarily set the date for Thanksgiving each year. For several years it was held on November 11, to coincide with Armistice Day. In 1931 that changed in order to rightly put the focus solely on veterans.
A long weekend is a long weekend. Enjoy it.
Also, just try being thankful for the good things in your life EVERY day.
To report a typo, email: