Brrr-ish months are here again

0

After along time under a government that continued to flaunt its power, Canada has finally gone out in droves and voted out Stephen Harper. The new scenario involves a very strong Liberal majority government led by the young and charismatic Justin Trudeau. While many are celebrating Justin’s ascension to the Prime Minister’s seat, there are those who remember his father’s reign unhappily and rue the day Justin was elected into office. Really, there’s no way any government can please everyone, but in running governments, countries, and other such massive organizations, probably the best rule to go by is the Utilitarian philosophy which espouses the greater good. What we’re hoping for is a review and revision or revocation of all the policies and programs that were implemented without consultation and without any real positive values or output for Canadians. But, enough of politics, even if it is one of the topics people will always have something to say about. Let’s see what happens, give the new government a chance, and for goodness’s sake, participate!

What is coming up is another Halloween, yes. It’s that time of the year. The months end with –ber and are certainly sounding brrr-ish. Temperatures have dropped and we’ve even seen our first dusting of snow, although we’re still having more rain than snow. As ever, nature is being unpredictable, although I haven’t heard a lot of complaining about the cooler days. I imaging we’re all bracing for it. After all, what can be worse than the worst snowfall in decades? Need I mention the weather gods are predicting ice storms? Let’s not talk about bad things. As I was saying, Halloween, originally called All Hallow’s Eve or Hallowe’en, is believed to be of Celtic origin from the Samhein festival, as a celebration of the end of the harvest season and a time when the worlds of the living andMasks (2) the dead overlapped. There was a belief that the souls of the dead would be up and about. Because not all the dead souls were amiable, people wore costumes and masks to scare away those particularly fiendish souls, hence the tradition of wearing costumes. Of course, that certainly isn’t why children run around in costumes anymore, trick-or-treating throughout their neighborhood. Nowadays, many holidays are celebrated without the original reasons in mind, because the original conditions no longer exist. On the other hand, the holidays give us a major excuse for taking a day off and just having fun—or just taking a break from the daily rut by putting on yet another mask and costume to hide what they are at the moment.

An Easter Memory

0
A litter of chocolate Easter bunnies!

A litter of chocolate Easter bunnies!

Not everyone celebrates Easter as a religious holiday and children remember it mainly for the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts. I know I looked forward to it as a child because my mum would mount an indoor Easter egg hunt for us kids after Easter Mass. She would hide chocolate Easter eggs, and the real treasures were the special large sugar eggs that you could crack open to find more little candies inside. Our Easter tradition hardly varied for many years. We would all get up early and get into our Sunday best and go to church. After church, we would all drive down to the Magnolia ice cream plant and Papa would buy a 5-quart Easter ice cream cake. Then home for the Easter egg hunt while Mama prepared dinner. When we were older, Papa would drop us off at home and then pick up the ice cream cake, which we waited for, excited to see what design he would bring. My brothers were excited too about the dry ice that was packed around the cake, because then, they could fill a tub of water in the bathroom, living room, or carport, and drop the dry ice into it to create a cool fog that spilled over into the rest of the house. The best thing about it was that it was SOLID ice cream, with the most delicious creamy frosting (unlike our DQ cakes which have a cake layer under the ice cream). We would have a different design each year, but on most years we would have either a bouquet of ice cream Easter lilies and daisies or a solid ice cream Easter bunny and eggs. Each of the 4 of us (my sister had not yet been born, and until she was old enough to pick for herself, she’d just have whatever we served on her plate) would pick our choice but still get whatever my mum put on our plates if she was the one serving. Of course, the ice cream cake was the pièce du resistance, after a glorious Easter ham that mama had ironed with sugar and glazed pineapple. I don’t remember when the tradition stopped for us, because after High School, I left home and hardly visited. When the grandchildren came, however, the Easter egg hunts resumed and I know my children, nephews, and nieces, have as fond memories of Easter Sunday at Mama’s as I do.

~cpl 2015

365 Things to Look Forward to–Number 16: Holidays!

0

16.  Holidays!

Happy Canada Day! Yes, it is a holiday in Canada, and everyone is celebrating on PEI by staying home. Except, of course, for those who need to work today. Well, I’m really assuming everyone is staying home, basing that on the number of cars I see in the parking lot of my apartment building and the parking lots of the apartment buildings surrounding mine.

Indeed, holidays are something to look forward to, for several reasons.

1. It’s a great refreshing break from work. Usually, offices shut down for the holidays. Schools too, though they’re not really affected by this holiday because it’s summer break after all, and no one is in school! It’s a long weekend, too. Since the 1st of July falls on a Friday this year, people get Friday till Sunday off, and because it falls on a weekend, more people get even Monday the 4th off! It’s perfect timing this year, for those who want to mingle with the crowds trying to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, when they arrive in PEI on Sunday evening and race around on schedule on Monday.

2. It’s a time to celebrate. Depending on the holiday, different cultures and different religions have their special ways of celebrating the day. Public ceremonies as well as private traditions are held. In may cases, holidays are times when friends or families get together, simply because everyone is free on those days! Except for those who have to work. I have my own favorite holidays, besides my birthday, and that is Christmas! And because it’s such a huge favorite of mine, I’m saving it for another thing to look forward to.

3.  Premium pay. If you are one of those who have to work on a holiday, the thing to look forward to is time-and-a-half pay, or double pay, depending on the labour laws in your province, state, or country. After all, everyone else is taking a day off, so for you to have to work when everyone else isn’t working is going above  and beyond what is expected of you, hence pay that is above and beyond the usual. It’s only fair.

So go and celebrate the holiday in whatever way you want: picnic, beach, walks, parties, socials, decorations, eating out, or simply staying home to do whatever you want, including sleeping in or catching up on hobbies. It’s a free day, after all, so use it to do something you wouldn’t otherwise have time to do. Unfortunately for PEI denizens, shopping or malling isn’t an option on holidays, since most stores and malls close on holidays. A few might have shortened holiday hours, but in general, you can’t do your shopping on a holiday. The most likely stores that might be open with shortened hours will be grocery stores and pharmacies. And, of course, restaurants, because most everyone wants to celebrate their holidays with food, and it wouldn’t be a real holiday if you had to slave in the kitchen just to celebrate. It somewhat takes away the spirit of celebrating and taking a break. That’s why people who work in restaurants go to work on holidays–because most people don’t want to cook!

Sigh.

I need a job that lets me have holidays off, too, so I’d have more things to look forward to!