Greetings from Snowy Edmonton
Letter from Canada! Robert Brundage celebrated Thanksgiving and Halloween in Canada.
Nov 17, 2015
October is a special month in Canada, featuring two holidays that are very typical of North America: Thanksgiving takes place on the second Monday of October – several weeks before the same holiday in the United States. The other special day, of course, is October 31: Halloween. This year, there was a third event in October: The Canadian elections were held on October 16, and I was permitted to participate as a Canadian who is temporarily based here.
The Liberals won an absolute majority, replacing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was widely detested by many Canadians, after ten years in office. The new prime minister is Justin Trudeau, son of former PM Pierre Trudeau. Although critics fear that the younger Trudeau might not be up to the task, the majority of Canadians – including me – seem to be happy that he won. His first official act was to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the U.S.-led military action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Trudeau also announced before the upcoming climate conference in Paris that he planned to embrace a significantly better climate policy than Harper. It remains to be seen how Canada will develop under his leadership.
Thanksgiving with Family
But enough about politics. Let’s talk food! October 12 was Thanksgiving, a day when no one counts calories and millions of turkeys and hams are served in dining rooms across the country. I spent the holiday with family at my grandfather’s house. There was a 5 kg (11 lb.) ham that spent hours in the oven, roasting at a low temperature. I was asked to give the meal a German touch, so I whipped up a traditional German dish of red cabbage with apples (Apfelrotkohl). The day was basically only about eating and drinking – a custom I would be perfectly happy to see introduced in Germany, too.
All Dressed Up
A week before that, I celebrated an unofficial “Friendsgiving” with friends. It was very similar to Thanksgiving. The only differences were that the guests were friends instead of family, the main dish was turkey instead of ham, and I made traditional bread dumplings (Semmelknödel) instead of cabbage with apples.
On October 31, I dressed up as a leprechaun and celebrated Halloween into the wee hours of the morning – with friends and a whole host of other amazing characters: the undead, zombies, cats, and superheroes.