Monday, October 09, 2006

Homemade Thanksgiving

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple fact that Canada is further north.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him - Frobisher Bay.

Thanksgiving in Canada is a celebration of harvest and nothing to do with pilgrims or founding new colonies. And pilgrims or not, the harvest in any year in history is THE levellor when it came to survival. Without a good harvest, lean times,even death were a certainty. So Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the abundance of harvest. Here we ate homegrown turkey, potatoes, peas, and squash. The dessert was created from Canadian produce, local pumpkin, maple syrup from Quebec, local cream and eggs from the hens and ducks who wander around the yard. (no, not pumpkin pie, maple pumpkin creme brulee - and yes it was divine - and yes there's more in the fridge)

Technology allowed me to speak and see my children as they were together for the Thanksgiving holiday at my eldest daughter's in Moose Jaw, the younger driving from Calgary. Technology does have its moments in addition to the times that I swear at it when it won't work correctly.

Here is another update on the tomatoes drawing that I began last week. I've been playing with it on and off but its destined not to go further. It seems rather pointless to spend a lot of time on it due to the support it is on - computer paper. The tooth isn't there and the paper isn't acidfree so it will likely stop where it is and I'll use it as a demo on shading for the drawing class I'm teaching.

May your Thanksgiving be peaceful, filled with pleasure and local food.

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Mary said...

Lovely post, Jeanette! So full of positive and worthwhile information. Your pumpkin dessert made my mouth water and your drawing of the tomatoes is the perfect drawing for this post. Superb, as always.

Katherine said...

Thank you Jeanette - I really enjoyed reading that - as I do any of your posts which explain about your life in Canada

And we get something out of every drawing we do even if we don't finish them - so nothing lost...and something gained

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thank you Mary. Pity you're not closer, I could do with someone else to help me eat the rest of that dessert!

History is always fascinating to me Katherine,whether my own or someone else's part of the world.

I don't stress over not completing a drawing anymore. There isn't this frantic need to accomplish every time I set pencil to paper. Sometimes its simply the pleasure of creating that satisfies enough.