Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Musings

I hope all of you in Canada enjoyed Thanksgiving yesterday. I found myself wondering why Canada and the United States celebrate Thanksgiving on different days. My initial thought was that the holiday started in the United States and that Canada "borrowed" it because it looked like such a good time. I mean who wouldn't want a day off to hang out with friends and family, eat your face off and watch football?

Turns out that I was wrong. Some form of Thanksgiving took place in what would become Florida and what would become Newfoundland in the late 1500s. Who knew? You can check out the history of Thanksgiving here:

For Canada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Thanksgiving

For the United States: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)

Thanksgiving is a much bigger deal in the United States than it is in Canada. In fact, the sanctity of the holiday is on par with Christmas. When I practiced law in Toronto, getting called in on Thanksgiving was annoying but not all that rare. When I practiced law in New York, Thanksgiving Day itself was sacrosanct. Not even the dickheadiest of dickhead partners (and there was no shortage of those, let me assure you!) expected anybody to work. The rest of Thanksgiving Weekend was pretty much off limits as well. I'll leave it to the social scientists to explain this disparity. It's just something that Canadians should keep in mind when dealing with Americans.

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