Monday 10 October 2011

Musing on Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving in Canada today. Of course, here it is a Monday like any other. Back when I was living in Canada, I thought little of the holiday itself. We called it "L'Action de grâce" in French and I always considered it a watered down version of the American version, something we never quite got a hold on and a genuine attachment. It happened much earlier than the American one, it was also much more modest than the American Thanksgiving, especially for Quebeckers.

This does not mean that I did not enjoy Thanksgiving. I did, but not because of the holiday itself, I never gave much meaning to it. Even the words "Action de grâce" seemed strange to me. I enjoyed Thanksgiving for what it brought (a long weekend and a free Monday) and what was surrounding it: autumn, harvest (even though I was not conscious of its association with harvest), etc. I enjoyed it, barely remembering the holiday that was theoretically at the heart of it. But in the middle of autumn, in October, when nature is soooo beautiful, well, there is plenty to do and to enjoy. As a teenager, my family and I spent a few Thanksgiving weekends at l'Anse-Saint-Jean, maybe the most nowhere you can ever find in Québec. Hearty food (tourtière, fondue bourquignon), red wine, heavy cakes, long walks in the wood, that was heavenly. My brother's birthday often fell on a Thanksgiving weekend. It is the case this year and today. So Thanksgiving for me is a holiday that I love for its circumstances.


Yves said...

Ah, l'Anse St-Jean! Chaque automne on y va (à l'Auberge des Cévennes) pour un séjour de marche sur les sentiers du Fjord.
Mais "the most nowhere", tu pousses un peu le bouchon! T'es déjà allé à Rivière-au-Tonnerre, La Sarre et autres Kuujjuaq-Fort Chimo...;-)


Anonymous said...

Belated happy birthday to your brother. I love the concept of the Thanksgiving holiday, although I must admit that I didn't know Canada had such a holiday. It is so easy to take our health, wealth, friends, and family for granted, so the idea that a day is set aside for giving thanks, whether to a god, if you believe in one as I do, or to those you love, and who love you, seems like a lovely idea to me.