Today is Thanksgiving. American Thanksgiving, that is. It's an important distinction. While Canadians celebrate the holiday on a Monday in October, the American date is just the first in a month-long block of celebrations.
TL;DR Below are listed 6 reasons why American Thanksgiving confuses Canadians.
To many Canadians, the U.S. version of the North American holiday makes absolutely no sense.
Below we've compiled just some of the reasons why:
It represents a false history
The story goes that the first Thanksgiving on the North American continent took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where English settlers and Wampanoag people met to celebrate a successful harvest.
Often, however, this story serves as false evidence of cooperation or mutual exchange between settlers and indigenous people. The popularity of the Thanksgiving narrative effectively erases the atrocities of settler colonialism in the public consciousness and political rhetoric.
Within a generation later, settlers in Massachusetts would wage a vicious campaign of what we would now call ethnic cleansing against native inhabitants.
It's on a Thursday
It's so inconvenient! According to American National Public Radio, the tradition of Thanksgiving Thursday dates back to the Washington presidential administration, but it's unclear why. After president Linoln also made a Thanksgiving proclamation on a Thursday, it seems that no one really just took the initiative to move the date. Lincoln is kind of an immaculate figure in American politics.
In the twentieth century, Congress officially set the fourth Thusday in November as the official date for Thanksgiving to appease corporate retailers and give consumers more time to shop – which leads to the next point.
It's disgustingly hypocritical
Less than one day after expressing gratitude for their family, friends, health, possessions, etc., Americans literally kill each other over material goods.
The irony of the Black Friday–Thanksgiving juxtaposition is lost on no one. But what many don't, or refuse, to realize is that the Black Friday frenzy makes Thanksgiving a sham – a precursor to the most capitalist holiday of the year.
From Canada, this hypocrisy is really hard to watch. This is not the sign of a healthy society.
The president pardons a turkey?
This is perhaps the strangest quirk of American Thanksgiving. The presidential turkey pardon is the spectacle that launches Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
The performance makes a mockery of American politics and presidential power. If ever there were ever an incident that proves the carnivalesque futility of the American political system, this is it.
It celebrates consumerism
Buy turkey! Buy pumpkin pie! Eat until you can't move or you lose! Food manufacturers and grocery stores have to profit somehow from the holiday season. This consumerism only further undermines the spirit that Thanksgiving purports to celebrate.
There's an odd parade
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is the background to many a Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, millions of Americans tune in to witness something that has very little to do with the holiday. With each edition, the floats get more extravagant and the inflatable balloons grow larger. How is this a demonstration of gratitude? It's a strange ritual.