Tonight Canada had a moment kind of like the moon landing or Woodstock or JFK's assassination. Years from now we'll be telling our grandchildren where we were when we watched The Tragically Hip's farewell concert.
Yeah, you probably don't even know who they are, do you? At the most you're scratching your heads and muttering, "Yeah, that's some Canadian band, right?" Yeah, okay, you're right, and you're horribly wrong too. For about thirty years the Hip has been writing Canada's soundtrack for life. We often wondered why they never seemed to catch anywhere outside of our big-but-small country, especially since they would fill every stadium to standing room only when they played in any major Canadian city. But now we know the answer. It's because they're as Canadian as mounties, beavers and inukshuks; as Montreal steak and poutine; as curling and lacrosse and hockey. Probably it's just that no one else but us could fully appreciate them.
Happy Canada Day! I thought that it might be fun to celebrate Canada Day by sharing the meaning and magick behind a few of Canada's national symbols.
Maple Trees by David Wagner. Public domain image courtesy Publicdomainpictures.net
One of the most striking of Canada's national symbols is the maple leaf that adorns our flag. Something that people come from all over the world to see is the beauty of our maple forests in Central Canada showing In the fall. Though at this time of year, the leaves of the Canadian maple are still green. This is one and the same with the famous maple tree that produces the sap that becomes maple syrup.
The push for green energy drives forward in Britain. Scientists create "bionic" roses. And the demographic impact of China's recently reversed "one child law" are considered. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
On November 11 this year, I reposted last year’s article that I was inspired to write after witnessing the gradual evolution of a Canadian cultural ritual around Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day, Armistice Day) that took place at my local cenotaph. As you might expect, this year I took my lunch break early, since I was working at the bookstore, and when my men came to fetch me I went over to the cenotaph again, shoveling a sandwich in my face so that I would be free for the ceremony.
There had to be twice the number of people who were there than last year. I recognized the lovable dog I’d patted and the cute little girl in the pink jacket I’d smiled at; who was now a little taller. This time the cenotaph gate was still locked, but there was a scuffed poppy wreath already laid in front of it. My friends and coveners, who were there last year, came back as well, everyone with a poppy and a look of determination. I scanned the crowd and the gate for the elderly veteran whose words had so moved me last year; but he wasn’t there. Then Jamie nudged me and pointed. “Looks like the people might force them to bring it back to the cenotaph,” he said. “Check it out; we have cops and everything.”
Remembrance Day is how Canadians acknowledge November 11th. In the US it is Veterans Day. These observances evolved out of Armistice Day, which continues to be observed in some countries (or simultaneously.) There are commonalities but the focus is different. Our identity of ourselves as a nation came from fighting together in World War I. At that time, Canada was still a British colony, and most of us thought of ourselves as British (or French, under British occupation). We became Canadians together at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
It's Election Day in Canada! I awoke galvanized! This election is different from any that I can remember in my lifetime. I feel that the stakes have never been so high. Really, it's about Canada's heart and soul.
For the past ten years, the Conservative Party has been in power. They were elected on their campaign of "accountability" in the wake of the Liberal Party sponsorship scandal. Since then, for the past several elections most of the country has been trying to remove them because they've dragged us through one scandal after another, one unconstitutional law after another, one restriction to our freedom after another. I have no words for how much I loathe them, and I have lots of reasons. The reason why Canada has not succeeded in removing them is the odd way in which our electoral process works.