Various ceremonies and celebrations were held by several of the First Nation Tribes in Canada giving thanks for the harvest each year. When Europeans, who also held October harvest celebrations, arrived in the 16th century, they brought their traditions with them.
English explorer Martin Frosbisher declared Canada's first Thanksgiving in Newfoundland in 1578 to celebrate the harvest as well as his successful return from a search for the Northwest Passage.
An annual celebration, in 1879 it was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on November 6th. The date was moved to the second Monday in October on January 31, 1957 by the Canadian Parliament so it would not be in the same week as Remembrance Day. This date is more aligned with the earlier Canadian harvest due to its geographical location.
Thanksgiving in Canada is both a religious and a secular holiday. It is usually celebrated with a turkey or ham dinner, complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and harvested vegetables and fruits.
Pies, cakes and breads including the traditional pumpkin pie may be made the night before. Glazed roasted turkey such as Canadian Maple Roast Turkey or Maple Orange Glazed Turkey or baked ham must be prepared first on the day of the feast due to the amount of cooking time required.
Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving holiday decorations include corn stalks, wheat sheaves, pumpkins and cornucopias.