Niagara Gazette

November 8, 2012

HAMILTON: Bad timing for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas?

By Ken Hamilton
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Before most Americans began to earnestly look toward the Christmas season, we first salivate in contemplation of our November Thanksgiving. But our Canadian neighbors apparently are doing so soon after our mutual October Halloweens.

Yet, in a way, we both are doing the same thing at the same time.

How is that so? Two groups of people doing the same thing at different times, yet claiming we are doing the same thing at nearly the same time?

It’s simple.

The Nordic Canadians, with their much earlier national harvest season, their more severe national winters and their Florida being the Niagara Peninsula, celebrate their Thanksgiving in October, before the blizzards of late November hit.

But we poly-climatic Americans, whose contingent borders stretch from the Seaplane Base in Aroostook County, Me., to the end of Seacoast Drive in San Diego County, Calif., and from the Semiahmoo Marina near Bellingham, Wash. to the Ocean Reef Club Airport near Homestead, Fla. are still harvesting cotton, cabbages and citrus fruits well into November.

Despite that the two-official language Canadians and no official language Americans are likely more akin in culture to each other than even the Irish and the English, and we are still quite different from each other in so many ways.

We are on a continent that has three major languages, but we are more diverse than just in language, ethnicity, race, gender and all of the other things that we use to differentiate ourselves. We are different in both where we are and in what experiences that we have had during our lives. We grow up and do things based upon our experiences; and weather and climate are indeed experiences.

In Canada, it gets colder, faster and longer than in the US; and it does make sense that the Canadians are already preparing to celebrate the Christmas season right after Halloween? After all, there is no Thanksgiving between the two.

It also makes sense for the merchants in northern border towns, such as Niagara Falls, NY, begin to prepare for Christmas at the same time when those massive numbers of cross-border shopping Canadians come a-knockin’.

What doesn’t make sense is that we folks that are above the Mason-Dixon Line still celebrate Thanksgiving under the indifferent climatic conditions of late November; and I wish that we would change it to when the Canadians celebrate theirs — even though I cringe at the thought of two-months of Christmas music, especially after the drudgery of a three-year presidential campaign.

Contact Ken Hamilton at kenhamilton930@aol.com.