Between Canada and Independence.

It’s the midpoint now between Canada Day and Independence Day. As a new permanent resident from the U.S. in Canada, it’s as strange a midway as one could have, given that this is the first Canada Day I celebrated in Canada. I have now celebrated one Canada Day and approximately 35 Independence Days.
Here are some (albeit superficial) differences between the two holidays:

  • Canada Day happens on July 1st whilst Independence Day happens on July 4.
  • Both holidays have fireworks celebrations. But I can’t figure out why Canada does; in the U.S., the works are seen as a celebration of war against the Brits.
  • Independence Day has a truly nationalist flavor to it. Flags are everywhere, the news is fully dedicated to the subjects of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You get the sense that America is truly great because it knows it is, and it does.
  • Canada Day is much more reflective than reflexive. It has a relaxed, very questioning feel about it. You see some patriotism in the media, but it seems mostly filled with mild surprise and amusement that Canada is even allowed to be a country. I think the country, on this day, breathes a collective sigh of relief that it’s not been devoured by the States and that its ways and means are based on reality rather than ideology.
  • Canada is, rightly, very proud of its current status in the world. It has no real deficits, universal healthcare, military missions that are focused on humanitarian aid, and very democratic political culture. The Globe and Mail had a very moving editorial today that was less self-congratulatory than taking stock. I’ll try to find a non-paying link to it later.
  • Independence Day is truly celebratory. It’s the one day during the year that Americans celebrate collectively national heritage. There is not a lot of history taught on this day but it can be moving to see veterans of World War II commemorate their work.
  • Both holidays, for some reason, celebrate by burning animal flesh outdoors on metal grills.
  • Nathan’s Hotdogs are not devoured voraciously in Canada.