Thanksgiving 2022

Happy Thanksgiving! And to my American readers, happy October 10, 2022.

Today is, of course, Thanksgiving. And, of course, if you’re from outside of Canada, you’re probably wondering why we celebrate Thanksgiving correctly in October.

Well, it all goes back to famous early colonial preacher Give-thanks-in all-circumstances-for-this-is-God’s-will-for-you-in-Christ-Jesus Chesterfield (incidentally, also the guy who gave us the kind of couch), who found the piety of his contemporaries lacking, kicked down the door of the governor’s residence and demanded an October gratitude-centric holiday corresponding to both the end of the harvest season and the traditional feast day of Paulinus of York.

A 18th century engraving of a preacher. Actually a portrait of Praise-God Barebone.
Seen here pondering new ways to disenfranchise Catholics.
By George Perfect Harding, etching, late 18th century.
via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domanin.

Now, if that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.

None of that above paragraph is true and is really just an exercise in making up plausible-sounding nonsense.

There’s no such person as Give-thanks-in all-circumstances-for-this-is-God’s-will-for-you-in-Christ-Jesus Chesterfield. That’s actually a portrait of Praise-God Barebone, who despite being a notable name in British politics of the 17th century, doesn’t have any tenable connection of Canada.

Now, certain Puritans did have sentence-long names extolling people towards Christian rectitude and proper conduct. FYI, it’s called a virtue name. Notably, our good friend Praise-God’s son, though known to history as Nicholas (and as a pioneer in fire insurance), was apparently baptised with the name “If-Jesus-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned.”

I, uh, I’m not sure how that gets you “Nicholas”…

Anyway, the history of Canadian Thanksgiving isn’t really that interesting. Supposedly, explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew had a Mass of thanksgiving — that is, literally being thankful for not dying in the Arctic in 1579.

There doesn’t actually seem to be a solid reason why Canadian Thanksgiving is in October beyond corresponding to pre-existing harvest festivals and only seems to have been settled as an October holiday simply by statute.

But that’s a lot less fun to read about than angry Puritans…

So, anyways, Happy correctly-dated Canadian Thanksgiving, everybody!


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