Finding something to be thankful for is difficult during wartime, but that’s exactly what millions did in Canada and the United States every autumn during World War One.
Let’s take a look at what the holiday was like a century ago.
Today, the holiday is celebrated on the second Monday of October. When it became a national holiday in 1879, however, it had no fixed date, although it was normally celebrated in October or November.
The traditional meal is a familiar one, including turkey, pumpkin pie, vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes and yams. This menu was brought to Canada by Loyalists during the American Revolution.
Church services also are attended on the holiday.
The first Thanksgiving celebrated in Canada was celebrated in 1578. During the first half of the 19th century, days of thanksgiving were proclaimed to celebrate specific events. In the later part of the century, it was often held in November with each Thanksgiving having a different theme.
In the 1920s, Thanksgiving was linked with Armistice Day.
Later in the 20th century, things like parades and football were added to the tradition.
Celebrated to commemorate the Pilgrims bringing in their first North American harvest, Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863.
The holiday menu and traditions are shared with Canada, although football became part of the holiday in the 1890s.
During World War One, military personnel celebrated Thanksgiving where they were stationed. It also became an occasion for patriotic sentiment.
Still, despite wartime hardships, people gathered to give thanks for the same things people today do – friends, family, health, opportunity, jobs and possessions – and in 1918 they added one more thing to the list — peace.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving Traditions? Leave a comment below.
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