A couple of weeks ago some of us, Asians and those of us with family connections to Asia, celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, sometimes called the Moon Festival or Harvest Moon Festival. That festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar when there is a full moon at night. That occurs in mid-September to early October of the Western calendar. It was on 1 October 2020. There are many traditions around the 3,000+ year old Mid Autumn Festival including lanterns and delicious moon-cakes:
Now, today, it is Thanksgiving in Canada. We tend to celebrate Thanksgiving, as do our American neighbours, as a harvest festival and, I celebrated, with my family, as tradition dictates:
Somewhat sadly, I guess, we Canadian forget that the first Thanksgiving in North America was not celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, rather it was celebrated in Canada, over forty years earlier, the late summer of 1578 at Frobisher Bay in Nunavut (62°N) ~ probably at or near what is now Iqaluit. Now, Frobisher Bay is, even today, a pretty remote and barren place, albeit frighteningly beautiful, too, and Sir Martin Frobisher and his men were not giving thanks for a harvest; their chaplain “made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for theyr strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places.” They were just thankful for having survived.
My son has sailed those same waters in command of a small (Kingston class) Canadian warship ~ the new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships are very large and have ice-strengthened hulls, but HMCS Shawinigan, which my son commanded when he was sent north of 80°N in 2014, displaces only 970 tons; HMS Ayde, Frobisher’s flagship and the largest ship in his fleet displaced about 300 tons …
… it was, indeed, an era of “wooden ships and iron men.”
Anyway, all that to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to all my Canadian readers … and let’s try to remember a bit of our history.