Living in the international and lawless border town of the Motor City, one is heavily aware of the existence of Canadian Holidays. You feel them all over, not just in the brain. These are often the crooked twin or haunting echo of common American holidays. Canadian Thanksgiving, for example, falls a few weeks prior to American Thanksgiving and instead of a turkey dinner it centers around burning of all of one’s furniture in the driveway while speaking only in vowelless words.
Living north of Canada as we do, we often join in the celebration of these peculiar days. Canada’s Boxing Day is a favorite whose great event is, naturally enough, a group beating of the local pastor, topped off with permission to drink chocolate syrup directly from the bottle.
There are also Canadian Holidays that have no parallel in American experience. 1-2-3 Day comes to mind as does late August’s Last Days of Shelly Finn Day. I’m never sure what to do on these days so I always put on some extra scarves and keep my mouth shut.
The question remains, Should an American take part in another country’s holidays? Concerns over loyalty fill the letters column around these events, with equal voices on both sides. There does not appear to be a dedicated page in my US passport to list any foreign holidays I celebrate, so using some craft paper, scotch tape and safety scissors I added my own (this always gets a smile from the guards at the casino, which is the only place I use my passport anyway). The Canadians I’ve encountered don’t seem to mind, although it’s hard to tell what they’re really thinking due to the language barrier.
In summary, Americans should not fear Canadian holidays and the confusing television specials they produce. Instead they should embrace these days of community and celebration. Nothing brightens a horrible April Sunday like a bucket of poutine and hours of ice holding.