Every year, Marie-Eve Desrochers hosts her friends for Thanksgiving. The philanthropist prepares a feast from the vegetables she grows in her Stanbridge East garden in the Eastern Townships. "This celebration coincides with the end of the harvest," she says. "It's a time to celebrate abundance."
She doesn't want to compete with her parents by having Thanksgiving dinner on the same day. In fact, no turkey is served at her table. Instead, her 20 or so guests—regulars plus new friends—enjoy Japanese lettuce, radishes, squash, colourful carrots and other seasonal vegetables. "I created my own tradition," says Marie-Eve, who has been celebrating Friendsgiving for the past ten years.
A holiday with a modern twist
A contraction of the words "friends" and "Thanksgiving", "Friendsgiving" existed long before our neighbours to the south invented this new term. It must be said that in the United States, Thanksgiving is as important as Christmas, if not more so. While the majority of Americans gather with their families around a turkey, many expatriates choose to share a meal that blends the flavours of home and abroad. And that's not counting all those who prefer to avoid paying the high price of a plane ticket or finding themselves on congested highways. The trend has taken on such proportions that the festivities now stretch over several days to allow those who visit their families to also celebrate with their chosen ones: their friends.
Partager du vin, de la nourriture et des amitiés!
In addition to hosting Thanksgiving in early October and attending the traditional family meal, Marie-Eve does it again in November when her American friends come to visit on their Thanksgiving. "Any occasion is a good one to celebrate," she exclaims.
For her, the idea of sharing is at the heart of these celebrations. Everyone brings a dish they have prepared and a good bottle of wine that they would like to share. Her door is always open to lonely souls, and she is happy to create encounters between people who have affinities. "Over the years, I've seen new friendships develop from these meals," she says.
Weather permitting, the feast is served outside. "Everyone dresses accordingly. We bring blankets to enjoy the last beautiful days of the season while sipping a nice red!" It's easy to see why Friendsgiving is gaining popularity—and not just in the United States. When you think about it, what could be better than giving thanks with your friends? Let's create our own traditions!
Photos: Marie-Eve Desrochers, Paula Carvajal