Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our First Canada Day on The Rock

As with all the new things we've experienced and learned since arriving here on The Rock, Canada Day observances and celebrations were no exception.

We were a little baffled as to signs which referred to the day as 'Memorial Day'. We were fairly certain they referred to activities happening on July 1, but we'd only known this day as 'Canada Day'. Years ago we recall it being referred to as 'Dominion Day, but none of us had ever heard it being called Memorial Day. The only Memorial Day we knew of, was the one celebrated in the U.S.A. and I believe that one is in May. Hmmmm.....this led to a few discussions among us as to the reference to Memorial Day.

As with all new-to-us things here, there is a logical explanation. After reading a couple of posts, the proverbial light bulb went one. Here are a couple of explanations regarding this day....both of them from fellow Newfoundlanders,

The first one from Lena and she writes,

"In NL it is also memorial day.

July 1st is a time for celebration for the people of Canada. But in Newfoundland and Labrador, the day also has a more sombre meaning.

Memorial Day commemorates the participation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel, France.

On July 1, 1916, 801 members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment fought in that battle and only 68 answered the roll call the next morning.

A memorial park was established in Beaumont-Hamel in 1925 as a tribute to the fallen soldiers." Lena

and another explanation from a fellow Newfoundland blogger Jacqueline.

Ahhh....things are much clearer now. This was exactly the way the day was observed here. First, a church service in the morning (we noticed quite a few wreaths at the local cemetery on our way through town in the afternoon), followed by a bbq in the afternoon (with lots of activities, traditional NL music, face painting for kids, etc.) and fireworks in the evening.

We did not know about the significance of the church service in time (otherwise we may have attended) but we did take part in the bbq and fireworks. Listening to the music....well it always puts us in the right Newfoundland frame of mind.

The fireworks were amazing....they were shot off over the ocean. Wow....the Atlantic Ocean (I still am amazed every time I look at it). The waves were crashing in against the rocks, the fireworks were lighting up the night sky, there was that familiar warm ocean breeze blowing.......and did I mention we were right beside the ocean???

It's hard to believe we've been here almost a year now. So much more to see, so much more to take in, so much more to learn.

1 comment:

molytail said...

cool - I had no idea it was known as anything else there....