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Canadian Thanksgiving

October 13, 2013

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Canadian Thanksgiving is hard to explain to people.  It’s not like American Thanksgiving, because it’s not really tied to any event in the national mythology.  “National Mythology” is configured in a completely different way in any case north of the border.  In some ways Canadian Thanksgiving is more like a “Harvest Festival” – occuring much earlier than American Thanksgiving because of the much shorter growing season.  Except that it’s not attached to any church or liturgical calendar, it’s never made explicit precisely who or what is being thanked.

Canadian Thanksgiving is, however, the perfect time to go for a walk in much of Canada.  The ice storms are yet to come and those mosquitoes as big as your fist appear to have abated also.  Canada, for the most part, doesn’t bother with “spring” at all – so for all sorts of activities, October is not infrequently your best bet.  If you’re the sort of person for whom the reddening and yellowing of leaves and the crunch crunch crunch of a fresh morning’s autumnal exercise has any sort of charm, then Canadian Thanksgiving is for you.  Because it isn’t tied to Church and State (though the state will give you a day off for it), Canadian thanksgiving offers something of a blank canvas for friends and families to develop their own rituals and traditions.    It is also a holiday that is about pure aesthetics to some extent, and the landscape itself becomes the star.  And if the landscape is largely about trees (as it often is in Canada), then Canada itself would appear to be the abstraction that’s being thanked.  A fresh crunchy Canadian morning in October is not very abstract, mind.

This year, like most years, we’re not in Canada for this holiday, and we have to try to replicate it with hints and scraps, bits and pieces of Canada that we’ve gathered and hoarded.  Mid October is also the time of year when the giant tubs of Tim Horton’s coffee you flew back with in August start to run low.  And for many Canadian exiles, that’s about the most poignant thing of all…

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2 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on conradbrunstrom and commented:

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone. I can’t believe I have to go into work today.

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  1. Sea Autumn and Studio – A Canadian Thanksgiving Monday on Mayne Island | Creativepotager's Blog

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