Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Hello, Internet, it’s Monday, October 11th and therefore Thanksgiving Day (at least, it is in Ottawa… it is tomorrow in Newfoundland already).

Montreal was great, and then Ottawa continued to be great, and then the lake in Saint-Pierre-de-Wakefield was great (except for the missing cousins… you guys and your being far away is totally not fair), and now I am back in Ottawa.  I am going to be spending the next couple of days soaking in a bit of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, but for just right now I want to talk about Columbus Day, which was celebrated today in the states and which is actually tomorrow.

Um… POLITICS. Very old, completely outdated politics… but… politics.

Ok, so this video is going around the internet… here it is:

YouTube

It raises a valid point. And while we don’t celebrate Columbus in Canada, we do have a couple of interesting statutory holidays floating around.

St. Patrick’s Day, for one.  While the story goes that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, it is much more probable that what he actually did to earn his sainthood was to drive the druids out of Ireland.  Also, we use St. Patty’s Day to celebrate the Irish by… um… getting really drunk.  And just passing over the inherent offensiveness of associating an entire nationality with alcoholism for a moment, St. Patrick was English.  He was captured by Irish marauders as a teenager and was a slave for a few years before escaping back to Britain to join the church and then return to the country where he was a slave to enlighten them. He actually refused gifts from Irish Kings. It got him into trouble and everything.

I swear I am not making this up.

Next up, Orangemen’s Day.  Non-Newfoundlanders reading this will be interested to know that Newfoundland and Labrador celebrates Orangemen’s Day on or near to July 12th.

Now, I’m not complaining about having an extra day off in the middle of the summer, but let’s think about this.  Orangemen’s Day commemorates the 1690 victory of William of Orange over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne… and that’s fine.  But then, about a hundred years later, the Orange Institution rose out of the ashes of that battle and the Orange Institution is responsible for A LOT OF DEATH.  It was a major, if not the major force on the Protestant side of the religious war that is still not completely over in Northern Ireland.  In the early 19th century, the Orangemen are known to have gone into a Catholic church and opened fire.

Now, I am not taking any side in the unrest in Ireland (except for the side that thinks it should stop… like, right now), but I don’t understand why we are celebrating a group with such a violent, destructive, sectarian and inflexible history.

Ok, it’s bedtime. That’s enough rant for one day.

But seriously, how do you feel about out-dated and perhaps misinformed statutory holidays?  It is so rare that we know what we are celebrating… should we know? Or just enjoy the day off?