Oct. 11, 1999


Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Apparently, since our weather is colder and our harvest earlier, so is our Thanksgiving earlier than the US one. Canadians make nowhere near the kind of fuss over it that Americans do. It is a legal holiday (schools closed, no mail delivery) and some families might quietly roast a turkey, but that's about it, in my experience, anyway. (Other parts of Canada may vary but I doubt it.)

Since I've long forgotten any Canadian history I ever might have learned, I did a search on Canadian Thanksgiving on the web, and came up with exactly one useful site. There it says:

Celebrated on the second Monday in October, by proclamation of Parliament in 1957, Canadian Thanksgiving is "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

The day is celebrated in Canada as a national holiday rather than a religious one, but its true roots and European heritage rest in something considerably more pagan. The original festivities date back 2,000 years to Celtic priests, the druids, who celebrated a harvest festival. Once their summer's harvest had been safely stored, the Celts prayed for their sun god in the coming battle with the darkness and cold of winter.

As their harvest rituals evolved, eventually combining with the Christian Feast of Saints, "Thanksgiving" as we know it was born, and later, brought to the new world. Records of Port Royal, Nova Scotia, dating back to 1710, note October 10 as a celebration of thanksgiving for the return of the town to the English. In 1763, the citizens of Halifax commemorated the end of the Seven Years War in a similar ceremony. From there the tradition slowly moved across the country.

Our family's celebration was as follows:

Younger son and I went to the mall; hubby went off with his brother; Older Son had to work. (He's a dreaded telemarketer at the moment, but he doesn't call private homes, only businesses, selling credit card supplies.)

I do have a lot to be thankful for though, including the following:

  • My children. They are strong and healthy (*insert appropriate superstition to ward off the evil eye*) and turning into good people. Also, my relationships with them. I must have done something right!

  • My father, still alive and kicking at 83. We're waiting for some test results but I won't think about that until I have to.

  • I was born in the right place at the right time. I experienced both the 60's and the internet and I'm not likely to take the influence of either for granted.

  • My freedom, both personal and political.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Bifocal eyeglasses.
  • Music.
  • My friends, both online and off.
  • Did I say internet?

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