International Student Center holds Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving in October? For the Canadian population at Liberty, this is the norm. Just over 100 Canadian students gathered in the Grand Lobby of DeMoss Tuesday Oct. 4 to celebrate their home country’s thanksgiving, which falls on Oct. 10.
Associate Director of Admissions and Canadian Academic Counselor Sharon Bloomfield was one of the people overseeing the event.
“I like to keep an eye on them while they’re here,” Bloomfield said of the Canadian students. A Canadian herself (originally from London, Ontario), Bloomfield likes to make sure the Canadian students are transitioning well and getting along at Liberty.
“It kind of fits that I’m Canadian and work with the Canadians,” Bloomfield said.
Canadian Thanksgiving is an event that has been celebrated at Liberty for about 10 years now. This year’s holiday falls on Oct. 10, reserved for giving thanks at the end of the harvest season (which takes place about a month earlier in Canada than in America).
“Canadian Thanksgiving is at a different time than American Thanksgiving, so we like to give them a little taste of home,” Bloomfield said.
The event serves as more than just a dinner for students, however.
“It’s an opportunity for them to celebrate without their families because they are away from home, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for freshmen to be able to meet the current Canadian students we have here,” Bloomfield said.
Freshman Brandon Brown is a 13-hour drive from his home in Toronto. He enjoyed the chance to come out and meet with his fellow Canadians, but admitted that Thanksgiving in Canada was regarded much differently than Thanksgiving in America.
“Americans are really serious about their Thanksgiving. For us it’s just a night to get together,” Brown said.
Avery Wilson is a junior from Richmond Hill, Ontario and has attended the event for the past couple of years.
“If I was at home I would be celebrating with my family but since the fall break is really short, a lot of people don’t get to go home,” Wilson said.
Although the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are different than American Thanksgiving, the two holidays are celebrated in similar fashion, making it hard for some to distinguish the slight difference.
“A lot of people ask me what we celebrate because we don’t have pilgrims,” Brown said of the confusion. “I always thought Thanksgiving was a universal thing.”
Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced back to 1578, when Martin Frobisher, a British explorer, was searching for a northern passage to the orient. His search failed but he settled in Northern America where he held a ceremony giving thanks for the survival of his voyage. This celebration became the first recorded Canadian Thanksgiving, which is now a celebration of the end of harvest season.
Students were also given tickets to participate in a drawing for a chance to win prizes, which included individual bags of Tim Horton’s coffee (a Canadian coffee favorite) and T-shirts. Students also participated in trivia and finished the night with a group picture and prayer.