Photo by Salt Water New England

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Happy Burns Night, and a Question

In Central Park...  Photo by Salt Water New England
A question for the community:
On Burns nights, a question.  What holiday from another country do you most wished was celebrated in the U.S. (or your current country of residence)? 
 

33 comments:

  1. Never thought about it before but we now have a reason to celebrate something like Guy Fawkes Day, for a while yet, anyway. Pretty much everything else is observed to some degree in some place or other, including Burns night. During my mostly misspent youth when I was much involved in Scottish doings, we always had a Burns Night (this is in Washington, DC), including the traditional "Address to the Haggis." I have no memory of where we managed to find one. We may have sent out a couple of kids after dark with a burlap sack to catch one that we chased their way. But that was 45 years ago and I'll bet they're harder to catch now.

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  2. foreign but not foreign, Hawaii's Aloha Friday, in a muumuu at the Royal, sun setting, sipping ChiChis snacking on iso peanuts at the Mai Tai bar

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    1. Celebrated in Boston with a big block party at The French Library!

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  4. Would switch USA’s late November Thanksgiving date for the Canadians’ in mid-October. More in line with harvest time and would make the last six weeks of the year less hectic (in theory).

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    1. Hear! Hear! You can read my mind. Love spreading out the joyous times of celebration. I have no desire to add a holiday but to just rearrange the autumn holiday.

      And I'm with Alison below. I would never want to give up Burns Night. It's a splash of color in an otherwise stark January. I'm taking a class on zoom right now and, yesterday, our teacher stood up on his chair and showed us he was wearing his kilt. (Had to be very careful we didn't get more than he bargained for.) Fun!

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    2. As a Canadian, that's fascinating to me, largely because I've always wished we could have the November one instead. That way there's a "holiday" for each month leading up to Christmas—"back to school" (not a holiday, but bear with me), then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. Also, as the planet sadly warms, eating a full Thanksgiving meal on a warm-ish evening in October can be its own challenge.

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    3. As an American living in Canada, I have to say I prefer the American date. In Canada, Thanksgiving is a three day weekend, with the holiday "officially" on the Monday, but different families celebrate on different days throughout the weekend. I find it lacks a certain sense of the communal experience that makes American Thanksgiving feel so special to me.

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    4. That's the upside of it. No one in Canada misses the "communal experience" of Thanksgiving weekend, whether they have the dinner on the Sunday or the Monday.

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    5. But then, you'd never experience the joy of a Turkey Trot in 6° weather. Although, to be fair, we've had our share of October snow storms.

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  5. This is an excellent question and, after thinking for quite awhile, I think I've concluded that May Day would be the most culturally relevant. Many Western holidays that exist outside of the US are celebrations of a particular country's founding (or liberation). It doesn't really make sense for another country to celebrate that day.

    May Day, on the other hand, is a frivolous celebration that simply celebrates the end of the cold season. From my perspective, such a celebration is culturally universal -- at least in places with distinct cold and warm seasons. There is another, more political, meaning behind May Day in some contexts, but I don't think this meaning has penetrated into popular culture in countries where May Day is celebrated.

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  6. I dream of an adoption of celebrating people's Names-Day, rather than a specific holiday for all like Burns Night is. Unfortunately the tradition of Name-Days seems to have dwindled away heavily over the decades.

    As an aside, here in England I had no idea it was Burns Night until a friend with some Scottish ties reminded me. Amusing to see Americans give it more credence than us who share a physical border and Union with the Scots. Echoes of the grand tartan debate from the other week..

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  7. Boxing Day - a lovely continuation of the Christmas holiday.

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  8. Good question. Consider re-focusing Halloween on children. The way it was. Adults could adopt
    Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday as their dress up in costume day. The way it’s done in Venice, New Orleans and at other carnivals. Adults have hi-jacked Halloween from the kids.

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    1. I so agree. And here in NYC, the big-name stores have gone from Christmas/Holiday window displays focused on children to displays for adults. Macy's has one so-called children's window that is just stacks of commercial toys they sell.

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  9. I live in Europe and I wish Thanksgiving was a thing here. (Obviously I understand why it isn't.) I've introduced my local family and friends to it and they love it (well, except for the pumpkin pie-- they find pumpkin dishes that are sweet to be weird and not taste good-- so more for me!)

    I like the bonfires/fireworks part of Guy Fawkes Day in the UK and would rather watch fireworks and be outside in early November (I love 4 July but not the hot weather around 4 July.)

    -EM

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    1. Try Harvest Festival instead. Good reason for a get together.

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    2. I host a Thanksgiving myself. It's just that it isn't actually a holiday here so it doesn't have the same "feel", even if I have it on the 'day' itself. Also as it is not a holiday some of the foods ar expensive, time-consuming, and/or challenging/impossible to source locally. For example, in the US in November turkeys are rather inexpensive (even with the recent grocery price hikes), whereas where I live a whole turkey can cost around 100 USD. It adds up.

      --EM

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  10. Hang onto Burns Night while you can. Its being dragging under the microscope of P.C. Another case of projecting 21st century values on the past. Apparently Burns attitude towards women and slavery merits the celebration being cancelled.

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  11. I recall that May Day was a significant holiday when I was young, as our school practiced certain parades and dances in preparation for a "show" for parents and local citizens of our town. That seemed to fade away over time!

    As for interesting traditions, I submit "Guy Fawkes Day" (or night, when things tend to happen) for consideration! Outside of the UK, it is suitably obscure and still feels a bit counter to the mainstream. It's quite patriotic and unusual for the day's namesake being the conspirator and not the hero of the incident.

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  12. I miss Patriots Day, which is only celebrated in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin.

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  13. Bonfire Night, Boxing Day, and/or Twelfth Night

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  14. Gr√ľnkohlessen

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  15. I think many holidays and other observances have changed over the years, although I don't think Halloween is one of them. And who remembers that All Saints' Day is the day after? One of our neighbors is an Egyptian Coptic Christian and it's later for them.

    July 4th, Independence Day, used to be observed with more enthusiasm in small towns across the country, with a concert in the park or town square, sometimes with fireworks. A particularly serious day when I was little, and holiday doesn't seem the right word, was Memorial Day, which people called Decoration Day where I grew up. It was the day you went to the cemetery and put flowers on graves. Even now, when I go back to my hometown, the cemetery is the first place I go. That's where everyone is, waiting for me, even though our plans are for another place.

    Somehow, moving holidays to a Monday, just to have a three-day weekend, detracts for the occasion.

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  16. Our small town in Connecticut’s northwest corner celebrates Independence Day with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence followed by a hot dog roast. All are invited. It is quite festive. Labor Day is not what it used to be. This is because many schools now start classes the last week of August. Traditionally school started the Wednesday after Labor Day. Agree that moving Memorial Day, especially, detracts from the occasion. Those souls who perished in our wars deserve not to have their very day moved around for the convenience of cookout celebrations. It was undoubtedly the BBQ lobby behind the move. As for Halloween, after eighth grade that was it. Halloween was for children.

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  17. Boxing Day! Thank you!

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  18. Out of curiosity, and taking the question in a bit of different direction, has anyone here ever had Haggis (I have not) and Southern Boudin? If so, how do they compare?

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  19. I have had boudin blanc in Louisiana, which uses rice instead of oats, but never tried haggis. I would be interested if anyone has tried both.

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    1. Not only had I never eaten boudin (Southern or otherwise), I'd never heard of it. So I looked it up. I have tasted haggis, but it was a long time ago. It's an acquired taste. A little strong and unfamiliar. Boudin is a sausage but haggis is not exactly a sausage, but somewhat related, though harder to find.

      If you want something really Southern, try chitterlings, available wherever fine foods are sold. It's what you eat when the rest of the pig has already been eaten.

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  20. Can't miss with James Joyce. Ha!

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  21. Bastille Day, to keep the aristocracy guessing.

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