Happy May Day, International Worker's Day, Labor Day, or for those of you into paganism, Happy Beltane, Lei Day or May Pole Day.
On this side of the Atlantic, May 1st is an undistinguished day. No massive parade of military hardware, no wrapping of the May Pole, no public demonstration of international trade union solidarity, no performance of Morris Dancing - in short, May 1st in Canada is nothing short of a non-event, an un-happening, un jour comme tous les autres
In most of the country, we have now managed to repel the worst of what Mother Nature could throw at us since November: snow, blizzards, ball-freezing temperatures, the recalling of Parliament and the like, although we up here in the Arctic we are still under her onslaught. So the thought has struck me that we Canadians deserve, more than any other area of the globe save Russia, a day to celebrate having survived winter.
Apart from the religious observance of Easter, we Canadians have been labouring our asses off since New Year's Day, with no end in sight until the May 24th weekend when we celebrate, in typically anachronistic and confused Canadian fashion, the 19th century birthday of a sovereign from another country.
So, in a triple salute to hard working Canadians, the end of winter and our national identity, I propose that May 1st be henceforth declared a statutory holiday: Curling Day.
I can picture it now as hordes of of pasty-skinned Canadians take to the streets with hearty cheers of "Hurry hard" and "Sweep sweep sweep". In nationally televised splendour live from the front lawn of Parliament Hill a symbolic last bonspiel would be staged. This pageant would rival anything North Korea could mount in its scope, colour and cultural relevance. A thousand member youth choir would sing a medley of Anne Murray songs, the girls gaily outfitted in plaid pleated skirts and the boys all wearing tams. This gala evening would culminate in the burning of a huge wicker man called the auld skip
made entirely of curling brooms. Afterwards, those assembled would rush down to the Ottawa River at midnight and throw eight symbolic stones into its waters and recite "Draw to the button, draw to the button, bless us all with barley and mutton", thus ensuring fertility for this great nation of ours in the coming year.
Meanwhile, back in the towns, villages and hamlets of Canada crowds would assemble in a circle around two curling rocks, hold hands and discuss for hours how to best remove one and promote the other. And, in commemoration of the great Air Canada Silver Broom brawl of 1971 and the many spectators who fell there, the local detachment of the RCMP would march past in red serge with batons at the ready. All in all, a solemn and moving occasion.
So write your local Member of Parliament and demonstrate your support for Curling Day. Lord knows we deserve another holiday.