The first Thanksgiving service known to be held by Europeans in North America occurred on May 27, 1578 in Newfoundland and Labrador, the English explorer Martin Frobisher landed here in 1578 in his quest for the Northwest Passage. The Thanksgiving service was held to give thanks for his safe arrival in the New World.
Thanksgiving day was not declared a national holiday in Canada until 1879.
From 1921 to 1931, Armistice Day (later renamed Remembrance Day) and Thanksgiving were marked on November 11.
In 1957, the second Monday of October was set as the consistent date for Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
What about the Turkey “Wishbone”?
The ancient Romans used to pull apart chicken bones hoping for good fortune. The English picked it up in the 16th century, where it was referred to as “merrythought.” In the New World, Pilgrims played tug-of-war with the bones of wild turkeys. The term “wishbone” didn’t emerge until the 1800′s. Each person grabs an end and pulls it apart. It is believed that if you get the bigger piece, your wish will be granted.
The term ‘cold turkey’ is now predominantly used as the name of the drug withdrawal process. It is also used to refer to any abrupt termination of something we are accustomed to.
The turkey looms large in North American culture and is the centrepiece of the annual Thanksgiving meal. In the USA, ‘plain speaking/getting down to business’ is called ‘talking cold turkey’, which has been shortened in present day speech to just ‘talking turkey’.
Eating turkey and feeling sleepy
Contrary to popular belief, eating turkey isn’t the main reason you feel sleepy after a Thanksgiving feast.
The oft-repeated turkey myth stems from the fact that turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which forms the basis of brain chemicals that make people tired. But turkey isn’t any more sleep-inducing than other foods. In fact, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates and alcohol may be the real cause of a post-Thanksgiving-meal snooze.