In 1576, English explorer Martin Frobisher set out to find a northern passage that would lead him to the Orient. He attempted to establish the first English settlement in North America on what is now known as Baffin Island in Newfoundland. Frobisher decided to give thanks for surviving his journey to Canada and thus celebrated the first formal North American Thanksgiving, 43 years before the pilgrims of Massachusetts at Plymouth Rock.
The proclamation of Parliament in 1957, stated that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the second Monday in October. European farmers held celebrations at harvest time to give thanks for their good fortune of a bountiful harvest. When they settled in Canada, they brought their traditions with them. The Canadian Thanksgiving is a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed. The day is celebrated in Canada as a national holiday rather than a religious one.
In 1621 the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the New World. In 1750 American settlers from the south brought this celebration of harvest to Nova Scotia. French settlers were also holding feasts of thanks.
All three of these historical events influenced what is celebrated as “Thanksgiving” today.
CORNUCOPIA, korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh One of the symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, also called horn of plenty. It is a decorative piece, originating in ancient Greece, that symbolizes abundance. The original cornucopia was a curved goat’s horn overflowing with fruit and grain. It symbolizes the horn possessed by Zeus’s nurse, the Greek nymph Amalthaea, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished. A great symbol to use to show a bountiful harvest.