Just before Independence Day in the United States, our neighbors in the North celebrate Canada Day on July 1. This holiday is celebrated much like the 4th of July here in the United States with barbecues, fireworks, and most importantly, patriotism.
Canada Day marks the anniversary of the day when Canada became its own nation from Great Britain through the Constitution Act of 1867. At the time, Canada was originally British territory, so once the Dominion Act was signed into effect, four provinces were created. These provinces were New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada, which was divided into two provinces that are known as Ontario and Quebec.
In the early years of Canada Day, the holiday was not celebrated as much. It wasn’t until recently that people began to celebrate the holiday more often and is taken more seriously. The people of Canada proudly display their red and white maple leaf as much as their southern neighbors bring out the stars and stripes. But did you know the Canadian flag was not always a maple leaf?
Canada’s flag originally had the Canadian Red Ensign on it. It was red with a Union Jack in the corner along with Canada’s Coat of Arms on the lower right. It was not until 1964 when then-Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson informed the House of Commons that the government had asked to adopt a new flag for the country. This flag was inaugurated in 1965 after submissions were made for the new design and the current maple leaf design was approved.
The red maple leaf of Canada is a symbol of patriotism and identity for Canadians. They wear it with pride every July 1 as well as year round. Pins are worn on lapels, maple leaves are painted on faces at sporting events, or flags are simply waved next to another’s in solidarity with their neighbors. If you have a family member or a neighbor who is from Canada, surprise them with one of our Canadian flags from our flag store!
Back in May, Memorial Day marked the beginning of summer, leading to three months of barbecues, vacations, and outdoor activities. After a long and hot summer, we are now at Labor Day in the United States. Children go back to school and the summer traveling season slows down. Labor Day is the day where many take the opportunity to have one last hurrah. A final barbecue, trip to an attraction, or to take the day off.
Every first Monday in September is Labor Day in the United States. The day is to celebrate the everyday worker and their achievements. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City by the Central Labor Union. The second Labor Day was held a year later on September 5th, which was held the previous year on the same day. Finally, as originally proposed, it was changed to the first Monday in September in 1884. It was originally held in New York City, but then other cities followed suit. Eventually, a few states began to propose Labor Day observations in their legislatures. In 1885, Oregon was the first state to officially recognize Labor Day as an official day while New York was still introducing the bill to their local legislators. By June 28, 1894, Grover Cleveland officially signed the act into law under the pressure of Congress.
Which one? There is debate on who originally proposed the idea of Labor Day. Some say it was Peter J. McGuire, who was the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Others say it was Matthew Maguire, who was a machinist and a secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Patterson, NJ.
In the present, Labor Day is considered a public holiday, so major government offices, post offices, and schools are closed to observe the holiday. Many businesses are also closed in observance or close early. Those who do work on the holiday are usually given holiday pay.
Independence Day, or more commonly known as the Fourth of July is one of the biggest events and celebrations in America’s history. Still, we must not forget why we celebrate this important day and everything the led to it, plus more facts about it. Today, I am presenting you with some trivia about the Fourth of July that may surprise you:
While many get the Fourth off today, it was not officially declared by Congress a paid Federal holiday until 1938. It was originally unpaid since 1870.
Nathan’s Hot Dogs holds their Hot Dog Eating Contest annually. This is to see who can eat the most hot dogs in the fastest time. The event is held on New York’s Coney Island and is broadcast on national television on cable.
Three presidents died on the 4th of July: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams within hours of each other on 1826, and James Monroe in 1831. The only president to the be born on the 4th of July was Calvin Coolidge in 1872.
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies. The bell has not been rung since 1846.
John Hancock was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only signer ON the Fourth of July. It actually took a month for all 56 signatures to get on the Declaration of Independence and John Adams thought the Second of July would become Independence Day.
While we light fireworks on the Fourth some 240 years after we became a country, in the first year afterward, many Americans placed a candle on their windowsills to show their patriotism for their new country. Those still loyal to the British crown left their windowsills bare.
While we hold barbecues today that feature burgers and hot dogs, our founding fathers ate foods like turtle soup, poached salmon in egg sauce, peas, boiled potatoes in their skins, and apple pandowdy for dessert!
Hope you enjoyed all the trivia! Happy 4th, America!