Happy Thanksgiving, Canada,
and a Happy & Joyous Eid to all those celebrating the Festival of Sacrifice.
It was in 1957 that the second Monday of October officially became Thanksgiving Day in Canada, but feasts and celebrations were held in abundance before that, and not just after the harvest. There were also thanksgiving celebrations for events happening back in the home countries of France and England (such as the coronation of Queen Victoria), and to give thanks for the end of a war or an outbreak of a disease like cholera. Harvest thanksgivings were the most common however, and were based on the harvest festivals celebrated in European churches. And while the Canadian Thanksgiving does not have the same Pilgrim-Native American connections as down south, members of neighbouring First Nations tribes did often share in the festivities with the early French settlers.
Eid-al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, comes right after the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj). It commemorates the faith and devotion of the Prophet Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to a divine command and is a time when Muslims renew their own dedication to Allah (God). Eid-al-Adha is celebrated with prayer, feasting, and the sharing of Allah’s bounty with those who are less fortunate.
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