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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #645: Two Thanksgivings
Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday on the second Monday in October.
There are stories that the English explorer Martin Frobisher held the first Thanksgiving celebration in Canada in fifteen seventy-eight. But a researcher at York University in Toronto found that these stories are false.
Peter Stevens gives credit for the holiday to Protestant Christian leaders in Ontario province in the nineteenth century. Mister Stevens says they took the idea of the American celebration and created a version for Canada, although they did not just copy it.
He says the observance became an expression of Canadian nationalism. He says it lost its Protestant religious meaning in the early twentieth century, and Canadians created their own traditions. The government established the holiday in October because it was early enough in the year for people to spend the day outdoors.
Thanksgiving in the United States developed from a celebration of English settlers known as Pilgrims. They are believed to have held the first Thanksgiving meal in sixteen twenty-one. They had arrived in what is now the northeastern United States a year earlier. Soon, more than half had died of disease or lack of food.
Those who survived thanked God. They also thanked the Native Americans who showed them how to fish and plant crops. The Pilgrims and the Indians celebrated together for about three days. Within a few years, though, the Indians and the growing number of settlers were at war.
Today a Thanksgiving celebration might last three hours. Americans traditionally prepare some of the same foods eaten at that first Thanksgiving. This includes turkey, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, cranberries and pumpkin pie. And this is similar to what Canadians eat on their day for giving thanks.
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