a little evangelism of my own

Have I mentioned recently that I LOVE my iPAQ?? In case you want to gaze upon her lovely face, here she be.

I'd better cut this out or this blog is going to get reeeeally boring.

No Canada news yet. Just waiting, waiting, waiting. Dreaming of a townhouse on the Lakeshore line, wondering what it will be like not to celebrate Christmas there (as compared to not celebrating it in NYC).


To elaborate, what I'm referring to is the profound sense of alienation I feel this time of year. To be an atheist and a Jew (and not a conspicuous consumer) at Christmastime in the US is truly to be a stranger in a strange land. Even in New York City, with the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, and a very sizeable Muslim population, I am still on the outside, looking in.

Since the Toronto area is so wonderfully diverse, and since many people's original cultures don't celebrate Christmas, I'm wondering to what degree Christmas dominates the psychic landscape. Do Canada's roots as a Christian country subsume the habits of more recent arrivals?


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I guess it would be about the same, except Dec 26th (Boxing Day) is also a holiday. Also, it's the busiest shopping day of the year, as there's always huge sales on.

Canadians don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Novemeber (in Canada it falls on the second Monday of October), so Boxing day is probably the closest thing to "Black Friday" or whatever you call it. So, basically, avoid any and all shopping areas on the 26th if you want some peace and quiet.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

A little note on stat holidays in Canada:

Dec 25th - Christmas
Dec 26th - Boxing Day
Jan 1st - New Years
Good Friday (depends on where Easter falls)
Easter Monday (gov't & banks only)
Victoria Day (falls around the 24th of May, but it varies)
July 1 - Canada Day
July 26th - St. Jean Baptiste Day (Quebec Only)
August 1 - Civic Holiday
Labour Day
Thanksgiving - Second Monday in October
Nov 11 - Rememberance Day (gov't & banks closed, most stores closed until noon)

laura k said...

Thanks! Still very British, I see.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

You'll probably still feel somewhat alienated. Christmas is still the largest holiday of the year, as it is in most Christian countries.

On the other hand, this year I started noticing "Happy Ramadan" messages in both stores and on television. I think as diversity increases we'll probably start adding in holidays from other cultures (without removing the existing ones), which would be just fine by me. We could add Yom Kippur, Eid, and Diwali. However, it seems all major religions have the big holidays in the fall or early winter. I'd like some holidays to fill in the gaps in June, Feburary and March.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

As a side note, Thanksgiving in Canada has virtually no religious connection. It's really just a harvest celebration. There's also no mention of pilgrims or anything.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

It also depends on culture too. East asians such as the Chineese and Japaneese haven taken on the whole secular side of Christmas (Christmas is big in Tokyo), but have little understanding (or interest) in the religious side of it.

Jews and Muslims generally don't celebrate Christmas, though most will take a week or so off at Christmas to go visit their families.

laura k said...

"I'd like some holidays to fill in the gaps in June, Feburary and March."

Jews can help you there. We have a ton of holidays.

"Thanksgiving in Canada has virtually no religious connection. It's really just a harvest celebration. There's also no mention of pilgrims or anything."

That sounds good. Not that Americans do much with the pilgrim thing, once they're out of grade school.

laura k said...

But while you're at it, drop Yom Kippur and replace it with Rosh Ha'shana. Yom Kippur is sad and grim, but Rosh Ha'shana is happy and celebratory.

Rognar said...

I don't know how I managed that, but it's nice to know I can delete my comments, even by accident.

As I was saying, the most likely holiday not derived from European tradition to be added to the list of national holidays would probably be Chinese New Year. Chinese is the largest non-European community in Canada.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

True, but adding more would be great. I mean, it seems to solve all the problems. The government is celebrating diversity, you get to learn about other peoples traditions, and it solves my need for more days off! :)