Canada, like most countries, designates specific days to celebrate religious, historical and cultural events. Many of these commemorate Canada’s multi-cultural heritage, which makes sense since Canada is one of the most culturally-diverse countries in the world.
Diversity played an important role in Canadian history, and, that’s likely to continue. Immigrants make up 20 percent of the population. It’s projected that within the next 20 years, about 30 percent of Canadians will be of “recognizable” minority groups.
Here are a few of these special days, which you probably know of based on where you live, followed by some days that are, well, maybe not so special.
National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) is celebrated primarily in the Yukon and Northwest Territories to learn more about Canada’s aboriginal people, their values, customs, culture and contributions to building the country.
Celebrated in five provinces across Canada, Family Day is held in February and gives people an extra day from work to spend time with their families and consider the values of family and home, important to early pioneers.
A national but “optional” holiday, Heritage Day celebrates Canada’s multi-cultural heritage. Held in August each year, a highlight is the Edmonton Heritage Festival with about 60 pavilions representing more than 75 cultures and drawing more than 400,000 people.
Several countries have a National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, held in March to celebrate (promote) the role of peanut butter in our diets; but it may be more relevant to Canadians than others.
Canadians do eat peanut butter, lots of it. Canada is the No. 1 importer of peanuts from the U.S., and it’s estimated that 94 percent of Canadian consumers eat peanut butter and almost 60 percent eat it at least weekly.
Also, it was a Canadian, Marcus Gilmore Edson from Quebec who in 1884 developed the process of making peanut paste from peanuts, paving the way to make peanut butter.
Some other “national” days may surprise you:
· National Cheese Lover’s Day; Canada has produced cheese since the 1600s, and is now one of the world’s leading exporters. Also, the first commercial cheese factory was built in Ontario in 1864.
· National Macaroni and Cheese Day; Canadians are among the largest, some reports say the largest, consumers of mac and cheese in the world.