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Thanksgiving in America vs. Thanksgiving in Canada: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 3, 2024
Thanksgiving in America is a November holiday celebrating the Pilgrims' harvest, while in Canada, it's an October celebration of general thanks and harvest.

Key Differences

Thanksgiving in America is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, commemorating the Pilgrims' harvest feast with the Native Americans. Canadian Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is observed on the second Monday in October, marking a general gratitude for the year's harvest.
The American Thanksgiving has historical roots linked to the Pilgrims' survival in the New World, symbolizing unity and gratitude. In contrast, Thanksgiving in Canada, though also focused on gratitude, is more about celebrating the successful harvest season.
In the United States, Thanksgiving is associated with the start of the holiday season, including Black Friday shopping. Canadian Thanksgiving, while significant, does not kickstart the holiday season to the same extent.
Traditional foods in American Thanksgiving include turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, often reflecting the Pilgrims' first feast. Canadian Thanksgiving also features similar dishes, but with slight regional variations and a less historical emphasis.
Thanksgiving in America has evolved into a major national holiday with parades and football games. Meanwhile, Canadian Thanksgiving, though a public holiday, is generally a quieter affair with a focus on family gatherings.

Comparison Chart

Date of Celebration

Fourth Thursday in November
Second Monday in October

Historical Significance

Commemorates Pilgrims' feast with Native Americans
Celebrates the general harvest

Holiday Season Kickoff

Marks the start of the holiday season
Does not start the holiday season

Traditional Foods

Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie
Similar, with regional variations

Cultural Significance

Major national holiday with parades and sports
Quieter, family-oriented holiday

Thanksgiving in America and Thanksgiving in Canada Definitions

Thanksgiving in America

Marked by traditional feasts including turkey and pumpkin pie.
Every Thanksgiving in America, I look forward to my grandmother's pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving in Canada

A quieter, more introspective holiday compared to America's.
Thanksgiving in Canada is often a long weekend getaway for us.

Thanksgiving in America

Associated with historical narratives of the Pilgrims and Native Americans.
In school, we learned about the Pilgrims during Thanksgiving in America.

Thanksgiving in Canada

Thanksgiving in Canada is a time for family gatherings and reflection on gratitude.
Our family tradition is to share what we're thankful for during Thanksgiving in Canada.

Thanksgiving in America

Celebrated with parades, football games, and family gatherings.
Watching football is our family's Thanksgiving in America tradition.

Thanksgiving in Canada

A Canadian holiday observed in October to give thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year.
We go apple picking every Thanksgiving in Canada.

Thanksgiving in America

A national holiday in the United States celebrating the Pilgrims' first harvest.
We always watch the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving in America.

Thanksgiving in Canada

Includes a feast, often with turkey, but with a focus on the harvest.
This Thanksgiving in Canada, we're trying a new cranberry sauce recipe.

Thanksgiving in America

Thanksgiving in America symbolizes gratitude, unity, and the beginning of the holiday season.
Thanksgiving in America is a time when families across the country come together.

Thanksgiving in Canada

Less commercialized than its American counterpart, focusing on the harvest and gratitude.
Thanksgiving in Canada feels more about gratitude and less about shopping.


What is Thanksgiving in America?

It's a national holiday commemorating the Pilgrims' first harvest feast.

When do Canadians observe Thanksgiving?

On the second Monday in October.

What's the historical significance of Thanksgiving in America?

It marks the Pilgrims' survival and cooperation with Native Americans.

How do Canadians typically celebrate Thanksgiving?

With family gatherings, feasting, and expressing gratitude.

What is Thanksgiving in Canada?

A holiday celebrating the year's harvest and blessings.

When is Thanksgiving celebrated in America?

On the fourth Thursday of November.

What's unique about Thanksgiving in America's food traditions?

Dishes like stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are staples.

Do both holidays mark the start of the holiday season?

In America, yes; in Canada, it's not as strongly associated with the season's start.

Are there parades during Thanksgiving in America?

Yes, major parades, like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, are a highlight.

Is watching football a Thanksgiving tradition in America?

Yes, watching NFL games is a popular tradition.

Is Thanksgiving in America a federal holiday?

Yes, it's a federal holiday with most businesses closed.

What does Thanksgiving in Canada represent?

It represents general thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year.

How does the food differ in Canadian Thanksgiving?

Similar, but with more emphasis on harvest produce and regional dishes.

Are stores open on Thanksgiving in America?

Many are closed, but some open later for Black Friday sales.

How do schools in America celebrate Thanksgiving?

With educational activities about the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Is Canadian Thanksgiving a statutory holiday?

Yes, in most provinces and territories, with some exceptions.

Is turkey a common dish in both American and Canadian Thanksgivings?

Yes, turkey is a traditional centerpiece in both countries.

What about store closures on Thanksgiving in Canada?

Most stores are closed, with some exceptions.

Do Canadians have a similar sports tradition?

Not as pronounced, but some may watch football or other sports.

What about schools in Canada?

They may have activities focused on gratitude and the harvest season.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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